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Kyoto to Koyasan, then Koyasan to Hiroshima

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Aug 20th, 2014, 03:35 AM
  #1
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Kyoto to Koyasan, then Koyasan to Hiroshima

Hi there,

I was wondering if a night's stay in Koyasan would be worth it? I've looked at photos and I'm really intrigued by the religious/historical significance of the mountain. At the same time, the list of train connections between Kyoto and Koyasan is a bit intimidating to say the least. I'm sure it's doable, but as I've got a tight itinerary I can't afford to be a bit lost connecting at Osaka to get to Koyasan. My question therefore is if the connections are really not that difficult after all? I'm only planning to stay the one night, and in the next day will be going to Hiroshima (again, another convoluted list of train connections) probably in the PM.

I'm fairly resourceful and travel light. I guess I just need some first-hand assurance that it's been done before!

Thanks!
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Aug 20th, 2014, 04:36 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2004
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We did the trip from Kyoto to Koyasan a few years ago. Details on our blog @ http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blo...8720/tpod.html

I do recall being concerned about making all the connection when planning the trip, but it all worked out ok, due in no small part to the efficiency of Japanese railways , Can't help with the Hiroshima leg as our next destination was Nara
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Aug 20th, 2014, 07:05 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I went from Miyajima to Koyasan - a long day with a lot of traveling but definitely doable....but I did stay two nights since I arrived late in the afternoon. Since you are coming from Kyoto you can get there fairly early.....
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Aug 20th, 2014, 07:22 AM
  #4
 
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I made it from Kyoto to Koya-san with a bad ankle, so don't worry too much! The scenery is really good, how good Koya-san is depends on the temple.

I left for Takamatsu so can't help with Hiroshima.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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We did a night in a temple during our first trip in 2012, and really glad we did. We loved our stay in Shojosin-in, I believe Kja has also stayed there and liked it very much.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 04:59 PM
  #6
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Thanks for the feedback. I guess I'll be going to Koyasan after all!

Was just wondering if anyone here's been to Matsumoto? I was thinking of visiting the castle enroute to Takayama (by train/bus) from Tokyo. From the looks of it, there's not much else I'm interested in Matsumoto. Would it be reasonable to do a day stop there? I.e. arrive from Tokyo 0930, and leave Matsumoto probably 1400 for Takayama, giving me a conservative estimate of 3.5-4 hours to see the Castle.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/...s-crow-castle/

That should work.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 09:26 PM
  #8
kja
 
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Ditto what others have said. Kavey has a great memory -- I did indeed stay at Shojoshin-in and I do recommend it. Do note that you will probably have to check into your temple by 4 or 5 p.m. While on Koyasan, don't miss Ukono-in.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 09:33 PM
  #9
kja
 
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Oops! I meant Okuno-in -
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4901.html

I also meant to provide this link:
https://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/...n=Shojoshin-in
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Aug 20th, 2014, 10:52 PM
  #10
 
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I booked through Japanese Guest Houses too...

Oh and if it's of interest, I paid a little more for the private hanare residence -- at that time it was our first trip I was planning and I wasn't sure how I'd feel about shared bathrooms in the ryokans/ traditional accommodations. So I asked how much the hanare would be, and it seemed very reasonable. It's actually big enough for 3 couples to share, or a family group, as there are screens to divide a number of rooms off in the centre, and there are two toilets plus one Japanese bathroom. It's right next to the main building, it's a standalone. You will take dinner in the main building so will not miss out on that.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 03:06 PM
  #11
 
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Glad these folks convinced you to go to Koyasan. They convinced me and I'm glad I went!

Shojoshin-in looks very nice, at least from the outside. We stayed at this temple, which is across the street from it and close to the cemetery. We enjoyed our stay very much and I would consider it the highlight of our recent trip to Japan.

We had a nice spacious room with a view of the garden and old
cedar trees. Bathroom was shared but it was just right outside our room, and when we went went we didn't hardly anyone else sharing that bathroom. All meals were served in our room, so it was nice. The meals were probably the most memorable among the ones on this trip -- creamy delicious tofu, etc. and everything was beautifully presented. I think I enjoyed it more than the kaiseiki meals I had, although these were vegetarian.

This temple has a more structured program, which I liked, and they're all optional.

We got there at 11 a.m., but the monk whom I had emailed before the trip to ask questions, already had our room ready for early checkin. His name is Nobu, and he's fluent in English and quite funny too. He used to study in Manchester, UK. I asked him if he had to be a monk for the rest of his life, and he smiled serenely and answered yes and all the lives to come. Damn, he was dtill so young and good looking too.

Anyway, back to the topic. After we checked in, we headed out and did sightseeing of the main sights in the Koyasan. In the afternoon we came back to our room, and saw a tea set was laid out with some hot tea and some sweets. Very nice snack before we rushed to the 4 p.m. guided meditation class. In the meditation hall, they divided the guests into 2 groups (Japanese and English speaking). Nobu again was our English speaking guide and he talked about meditation. Besides the 2 of us, 3 other Americans/Europeans were there. One thing that Nobu said that stuck with me was you can achieve englightenment within this lifetime. Start by cleaning your room, your house. Whatever you see out there will be reflected within you, so clear the clutter and mess. I thought it was funny, but actually quite profound.

After dinner, we joined a guided tour of the cemetery, again led by Nobu. It's $15 USD pp and was well worth it. At first we attempted to go ourselves in the dark with a flashlight, but kinda freaked out a bit realizing we're walking thru a cemetery in the dark with no one around. But the tour was very informative and again Nobu was very entertaining. Also we learned from him that monks in Japan are actually not expected to be celibate. They can marry and have children, like Christian ministers.

Early next morning, we woke up and joined the monks and guests for morning prayer/chanting in a large meditation hall. After that we moved outside to a smaller worship hall for the fire ritual ceremony. Lots of chanting and a monk would throw something into the fire and huge flames would lit up in this room. Later we went around the fire for blessing.

Came back to our room for breakfast and check-out.

Anyway, it was an interesting experience, and we're glad to have gone through the programs offered by the temple.









http://www.ekoin.jp/en/
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:15 PM
  #12
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Thanks everyone! I was initially going to do a temple-stay myself, but it sounds like a bit of a splurge for someone who's not entirely new to Buddhist practice, so I'll give that a pass! I'm more interested in the cemetery (ha) for photography, and there's a nice inn close-by.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 11:09 PM
  #13
kja
 
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The cemetery - Okunoin - is incredibly evocative at dawn and dusk. Enjoy!
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Aug 25th, 2014, 11:57 AM
  #14
 
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I was also a bit reluctant to shell out $100 USD pp for a templestay, but after our experience at Eko-in, we thought it was quite reasonable and even cheap, given the elaborate meals and activities.

Enjoy your trip!
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