Welcome to Koyasan and probably a place you have never heard of. As I mentioned before I wanted an unusual trip so this took some researching. I came across an article that mentioned you could stay with monks in their temple and was instantly hooked. Mount Koya is an area that houses multiple temples that offer this service – stay the night, eat among the monks and witness morning ceremonies. It is a community located high up in the mountains of Koyasan and is pretty isolated from suburbia. There are several sites that offer help with booking this kind of ‘excursion’ so just do some research (I pretty much organised it all myself).

If you’re going to do this then you have to invest. To start with, getting there is a pain and takes several hours. We took trains, buses, subways and a vernacular. The price isn’t included in your JR Pass so it will come out of pocket but again you’re paying for the experience. We loaded up on gyoza’s at the station and started the journey. The vernacular at the end was my favourite part as I love those and it gets you high up into the mountain range. At the top there are buses that drive you through the little village and drop people off at their respective lodgings.








We stayed at the Shojoshin-in Temple (one of the largest temples there and a huge estate). A man checked us in and gave us a tour of the bathrooms, main hall, prayer area etc. Our room was upstairs in the annex and adorable. It felt like something out of a Studio Ghibli movie that you only dream about. Compared to the hustle bustle of Tokyo and Kyoto, it was really nice to getaway and refocus. Timing is very strict and food, the ceremony etc. always start and end on time so definitely pay attention. Our temple had an onsen which is basically a giant, communal bath that is scorching hot. There are certain rules when using it like showering first, three people max at a time and no products inside. When I went no-one joined me so it was very relaxing being alone in this ‘steam room meets jacuzzi’. The rest of the time we read, had a mini photoshoot and enjoyed our very own tea ceremony.







A definite highlight were the food and meal times. Dinner was very promptly served at half five and was strictly vegan. I’ll be honest that half of the dishes I had no idea what they were but it was really delicious and a welcomed change. A monk in training came by to drop off tea, rice and hot soups and then left us alone to enjoy. There were vegetables, tofu, tempura, and the hot dishes. You can see I’m rocking my complimentary yukata (low-key kimono/pyjamas) and loved every second of it. The last photo is of breakfast which featured fruit, some tofu cake thing and more soup.




There isn’t a lot to do in Koyasan itself. There are a few token shops and you can always browse the other temples I guess. The main ‘showstunner’ would be Okunoin Cemetery. People pay millions to be buried here as Kobo Daishi, found of Shingon Buddhism, is buried here. It is considered a very holy and sacred place with many pilgrimages happening here. The graveyard goes on for miles and is a really beautiful walk (is that a weird thing to say?).








I personally think you only need one night here but I guess everyone feels and desires different things. I enjoyed the slower-pace and getting to see a different aspect of Japan. We got woken up at five in the morning to witness the morning ceremony. I didn’t document it as it felt disrespectful to do so but again it was very powerful. To be invited to witness it I felt very lucky and will cherish that memory.

If you missed the previous Japan posts you can check them out here. After being away at Koyasan I craved some technology and so we headed to Osaka! Don’t miss out in a few days!


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Day Out - Aphrodite's Rock

Paphos - Castle & Sights

Day Out - Cinque Terre

Florence - Duomo & David

Day Out - Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day Out - Mayfield Lavender Farm

Taipei - Jiufen and Yehliu GeoPark

Taipei - 101

Yangshou - Li River

Day Out - Longji Rice Terraces

Guilin - Sun & Moon Pagodas

Shanghai - Bund and Temples

Xi'an - Terracotta Army

Day Out - Great Wall of China

Beijing - Temple of Heaven

Beijing - Tiananmen and Forbidden City

Helsinki - Seurasaari

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Day Out - Lantern Festival London

Vatican City - Peter and the Pope

Day Out - Pompeii

Rome 2 - Colosseum and Forum

Rome - Food, Trevi and Pantheon

Madrid - Bear and Tree

Hotel One Shot Prado 23 Review

AVE Renfe Train Review

Day Out - La Tomatina

Valencia - Aquarium & Gulliver

Air Europa Review

Adventure - Scandinavia 2016

Bergen - Boats and Fish

FlΓ₯m - Hikes and Views

Oslo - Vikings and Ships

Oslo - Vigeland and Ski Jump

Stockholm - Abba & Meatballs

Copenhagen - Land

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Day Out - Frederiksborg Castle

Adventure - Israel 2016

Jerusalem - Places to eat and drink!

Jerusalem - Old City

Jerusalem - Museums and Markets

Day Out - Makhtesh Ramon

Tel Aviv - Places to eat and drink!

Tel Aviv - Outside the city

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Day Out - Caesarea

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Day in the Life - Tel Aviv

Day Out - Horashim Forest

#13 - Israel

Barcelona #2 - Montjuic & Barri Gotic

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Bristol - Things to eat and drink!

Bristol - Things to do and see!

Day Out - Sherwood Forest

#12 - Xmas

Day Out - Winterville London

Zurich - Outside the city

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Day Out - Harry Potter Studio Tour

Adventure - Japan 2015

Tokyo 2

Nara & Hiroshima



Kyoto 2


Tokyo & DisneySea


Boston Islands - What to see and do!

Boston - What to eat and drink!

Boston - What to see and do!

Seattle - What to see and do!

Adventure - British Columbia 2015

British Columbia 3 - Victoria

British Columbia 2 - Vancouver

British Columbia 1 - Whistler

Adventure - Alaska 2015

Juneau - Outside the city

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Whittier - Glaciers, Bears & Whales

Anchorage - Outside the city

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Denali - ATVs, Huskies and a Moose

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Great Smoky Mountains #2 - Hike and Fog

Great Smoky Mountains #1 - Bears & Dixie Stampede

Lake Erie Roadtrip #2 - Cleveland, Xmas and Rock & Roll

Lake Erie Roadtrip #1 - Toronto to Detroit

Fargo - What to see and do!

Reykjavik - Outside the city

Reykjavik - In the city

NYC Winter #2 - Markets, Lights and Trees

NYC Winter #1 - The Christmas Cluster

Day Out - The First Thanksgiving

New Orleans - What to see and do!

Montreal - Food Walking Tour

Montreal - Dos and Don'ts

Austin - What to eat and drink!

Austin - What to see and do!

Ghent in a day

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Brussels in a day

Lisbon Day #3 - Tiles and Trams

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Lisbon Day #1 - Parque das Naçáes

Mountain Roadtrip #6 - Potatoes, Temple and Pride

Mountain Roadtrip #5 - Deer, Lakes and Cowboys

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Baltimore - Crabs, Old Bay and Beer

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Day Out - Santacon NYC 2013

Balloon Roadtrip #4 - Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2013

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Balloon Roadtrip #2 - Flagstaff to Farmington

Balloon Roadtrip #1 - LA to Flagstaff