A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

Daisen-Ji

Daisen temple in the mist

Misty Daisen shrine

Mist lifting from path down Daisen Mountain


I had bought a bento box to have for tea on the Shinkansen, and there was a bloody baby octopus in it! I didn`t have a lot of time to choose before my train was leaving, and though I knew it was a seafood oriented one, you never know exactly what`s in a bento till you open the box. As is often the case, there were a few things I had no idea what they were, and I ate them anyway, but I could not bring myself to eat a whole baby octopus, about two inches long. In the end I had to cover it up as it was putting me off the rest of the food, sitting there with its mouth open looking like a baby alien monster.

Before I left Yonago I went for a walk in the beech forests around Mount Daisen, as they are all turning yellow now. At least that was the plan, but when I got there the only thing I could confidently work out from the Japanese signs and the woefully inadequate map was how to walk up Mount Daisen, which is nearly 6,000 feet high! I had food, but no coat or fleece and only a small botttle of water, but confidence I wouldn`t get lost, mainly because Daisen is a pilgrimage mountain, so there would be (and was) quite a few other people doing the same thing.

Frankly, it was quite cold on the mountain, though the steep climb soon had me sweating nevertheless. It would have been very beautiful amongst the trees and with views all the way to nearby Russia, but the low clouds were syuch that most of the time I couldn`t see more than a 100 metres, and at the top no more than about twenty feet! It was very exposed and windy at the summit, and just as I got there it really started raining (not the place for my brolly), but luckily there was a mountain hut to shelter in. It was all very jolly in there, lots of well-equipped hikers having lunch and wandering if all English people didn't wear coats when it was raining. And when it rained again on the way down I sheltered in this lovely old wooden shrine, so all in all I was very lucky with the weather considering. It was a hard slog both up and down, but satisfying (afterwards!), and the forests were very beautiful in the mist. The whole area is also famous for this particularly strange bunch of spirits/monsters/whatevers called kitaro, look them up.

And now I am in Osaka, Japan`s second biggest city, my base for visiting the mountain-top monastery complex of Koya-San tomorrow, though this time I`m taking my fleece!



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