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Osaka, Koya-san, and Nara

sunny 35 °C

Its been a pretty busy few days but everything seems to be falling into place quite neatly and there have been no calamities yet. We think Osaka just had a small earthquake though.

We went to Tenjin Matsuri, which had a really good parade with lion dancers and music and floats and monks and stuff. then everything got a bit disorganised when they hit the river, we think we saw the basics - many boats, including one that crashed into a bridge and ruined the toilet on the back! then we watched the fireworks, which were cunningly viewed from pretty much the only bridge on the river FROM WHICH THEY COULDN'T BE SEEN. barriers were six feet high, crowds mental. so we forced our way back to the temple and watched the final parade, bumped into a fella from the hostel - which was uncomfortably hot (the hostel. not the fella) - and a japanese guy who spoke good english and a yakusa who made a little girl cry.

left osaka for koya-san early, arrived and checked into a really great temple. one of the best accomodations so far, but i forget its name. cost double any other place weve been. from there we explored koya-san, first the huge graveyard with Kobo-daishi's sleeping body, and a stone that only those who are free from sin can lift. we both lifted it but it took two hands! got eaten by mosquitoes. graves includes some crazy monuments including one from nissan. then we saw the garan, sacred precinct, with a HUGE pagoda, really impressive inside and out but no photos allowed inside. also a massive gate, and general temple stuff. evening saw us eat a meal in a private dining anex of our bedroom, or rather i ate a plie of tofu and alison had to make do with rice and pickles and melon.

next day rose at five thirty for a buddhist service, then on to breakfast - a repeat of the previous night but with more tofu. went to the main temple of the complex which housed japans largest rock garden, which was worth a look, and some screens and the site of a famous suicide. from there we went to Nara, which is really good. we are stationed by a nice pond with terrapins, a 5 story pagoda (second biggest in japan) and the park - full of deer. we visited the shops, the pagoda, and a grand shinto shrine with thousands of lanterns. closed. on the way back we were attacked by deer and alison jumped but i defended her. then we saw a nice pond with a tea pavillion in the water, full of schoolkids. oh forgot, at the garan there were kids on like a ghost tour and they kept screaming and running around.

today weve seen the worlds largest wooden building and a huge bronze Buddha - photos allowed. its nostrils are about 1.5 feet wide. at the back is a pillar with a hole the size of a nostril. those who fit through are guaranteed enlightenment. i got some worried looks and crys of "try! try!" from the locals. alison squeezed through but hurt her boobs, then a little guy in purple just fit through with help from his pal. i followed. about a foot taller and twice as wide. got my arms in then alison grabbed my hand and pulled me in until i wedged! it was curved! purple guy grabbed arm number two and pulled, then two other guys joined in and out i popped! had to wait for alison to take my picture then slid out, enlightened.

now we are in a net cafe instead of visiting a tomb - closed.

thanks to all those whove contacted me, ive no time to write persoanl emails as im busy. i'll get back to you.

oh and my bad back... turns out its my right bum cheek has a trapped nerve and its kinda better after alison gave me a massage. on my bum.

mum? dad? nothing to say to me? ive been away a month and heard nothing! you can leave comments on the blog! or call alisons parents and they can email us or comment.

Posted by urchinjoe 11:34 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking

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