Today we woke up at 6:00. This seems early, which it is. However it was doable given that we had to sleep at 22:00 that night. This is the rhythm of the monks that live in this temple and we adjusted to it. The serenity of the place brought us some inner peace. This was welcome after spending many days in huge cities. On the mountain hill we were surrounded by fresh air, nature and silence. On this early hour of the day, we witnessed a morning ritual done by three monks. This happened in a room full of candles, statues and decorations. One was leading the ritual. He made a small fire and did some things i could not see. There was a pillar in my sight. The other two sang some kind of mantras or ritual texts and played a big drum. This drum sounded like the goblins’ drums in the mines of Moria in Lord of the Rings part 1. After this we walked to another temple. We were guided through a narrow, pitch-black tunnel underneath the temple. One by one we entered, touching the person in front of us to navigate somewhat. In the darkness we found a tiny altar, minimally enlighted. Here we prayed for our loved ones. We were impressed by these holy rituals, at least i was.
Then we had breakfast. This was equally elaborate as the dinner of the evening before. We enjoyed some rice, yoghurt, salad and soup. It was tasty. Then we had free time. To further relax our bodies and minds, several of us did a tai chi session, guided by our very own Erik. Here we made a friend, his name is Stix. He is a walking stick. His name sounds more dangerous than he is. Walking sticks are friendly animals that do no harm. Like all insects and spiders here, he was big. About 14 cm. Note that spiders are no insects, because they have 8 legs instead of 6. All insects have 6 legs.
Unfortunately, we had to leave this place. Our journey continued to Kyoto. It is said that this city is typically Japanese, because it is a combination of culture, ancient history, and modern things. Our journey was long and exhausting. We, at least i, was done with carrying heavy luggage in the heat of the day. My hands and feet hurt, and everything was sweaty and sticky. This was the truth not only at the end of the journey, but also after 5 minutes already, of this five-hour travel.
When we finally arrived, the ambiance quickly turned more positive again. Here in our hostel we all have rooms on the same floor, which is fun. We went out for diner. Some of us ate sushi. It was expensive, but tasty, thus worth it. Of course eating high-quality sushi is a must-do when in Japan. With some people we went to a small sushi restaurant where one chefcook was making the sushi in a open kitchen. He had been studying sushi for 25 years already, thus a real sushi master we had encountered here. By the way, this restaurant was located at a crowded place full of narrow streets, candles and small restaurants. it looked very Asian. There was also a river nearby.