Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z: Oh, the places you'll go!

Hooray--I'm so glad to have reached the last day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, in which I'm focusing on overseas destinations I've visited.

Z is for Zen Buddhist Temple on a Mountain, Koya-san, Japan (January 1989)
During our last winter in Japan, we spent a long weekend up on a mountain about two hours from Wakayama at Mt. Koya, or Koya-san. We went with my roommate Jean and another college friend Tami, who had recently arrived in Japan. Both Jean and Tami ended up living in Japan longer than our three years there. 
Koya-san, first settled in 819 by the monk Kūkai, is the world headquarters of the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Wikipedia says, "Located in an 800-m high valley amid the eight peaks of the mountain (which was the reason this location was selected, in that the terrain is supposed to resemble a lotus plant), the original monastery has grown into the town of Kōya, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims."

Cable car up to Koya-san (fortunately I'm not afraid of heights--
you can tell how far uphill it is by the shape of the cable car!)

So peaceful!!

We visited Koya-san previously, but my most memorable visit was staying in a Zen Buddhist temple in January 1989, when everything was blanketed in snow. It was so beautiful!!

Our little snow person (is that what that is???)

Lantern carrier

So pretty!

In our yukatas after a Japanese bath
With Jean
Tami at dinner, served to us in our tatami room

Such fun we had!!
I can't believe I'm really done with 26 days of travel posts. Hallelujah!! Tomorrow I'll do a quick wrap-up. Visit here to read all of my A-Z posts


  1. Stopping by from your comment on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Z post on Facebook!

    That is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing the experience.

  2. The photographs of the temple and walking path are beautiful. They inspire relaxation at a glance! Congrats on finishing the challenge.

    Denise at Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers
    Denise Reashore on Facebook

  3. I stayed at a temple at Koya-san a few years ago. It was such a beautiful place and the monks were so friendly. I was only there for 2 days which was a shame, but it was still amazing.

  4. Marie! This is so funny. I was just writing a letter to our old student Mizuyo - do you remember her? Our bright, smiling, wheelchair-bound student? - and was musing over whether Seito Tandai might still be in business. So I did a search and found your blog! What a blast to see those old photos. I have not been back since 1988 but would like to go and visit old friends. I hope you are well and that we can stay in touch.

    1. I do remember Mizuyo--that is so great you are still in touch with her! Sadly, most of my Japanese connections have stopped writing; alas!

      I would love to go back one day too!