Travel

A Broken Train and a Lost Taxi

Photo cred: Juliana Mills

Getting to Koyasan takes about 2 hours from Osaka main. First you need to get to Namba station, then you have to transfer to the special Koyasan line that rattles along for about an hour through some very sleepy, remote towns. As if that wasn’t enough, once arriving at the final stop of the train, you get to take a nearly vertical trolley up the side of a mountain. Admittedly, it’s a beautiful trip through the rural mountains of Kansai, but if traveling by night, there isn’t much to see.

After a tiring day exploring Koyasan, we are working our way back to Osaka well past nightfall on one of the last trains down from the mountain. To pass the time, the topic of scary movies has come up and we are sharing the plots of our favorite horror flicks. Mind you, I’m fearless when it comes to extreme sports, but I’ll cry if forced to watch a scary movie of any calibre. Just as everyone is getting all worked up over Paranormal Activity, we realize the train has stopped. That’s when the fun begins.  Continue reading

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Travel

7 Days in Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto for Cheap

A good friend of mine from America, Julie, was scheduled to visit me here in Japan at the start of my summer vacation. As much as I’m sure she would love hanging out with me here in Koga for 18 days, I decided to save that for another visit. So, in an effort to make the best of her time here and I decided to book a trip for her, Becky, Carolyn and I down to Kansai for 7 days. Mind you, we’re all poor, recent graduates/ current students, so we wanted to make sure we could maximize our visit for minimal funds. This is how we did the Kansai region cheaply and efficiently! Continue reading

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Travel

A Night in a Temple at Koyasan (高野山)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when signing up for a night high in the mountains near Osaka in a traditional Buddhist Temple. Kris and Becky had both expressed an interest in doing this, and I’m never one to turn down a new experience, so here we are. 

At the door we are greeted by a monk. I wish I could say he was all dressed in traditional orange monk robes, giving off an ethereal peace and reminding me what dedication truly is. In all actuality, he seemed like a completely normal, everyday dude. His non-conforming plain grey t-shirt and brown sandals simply state that this man enjoys being comfortable in his time off. He greets us kindly and shows us in.   Continue reading

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