Back in the day, when I came to Japan as an exchange student, I was asked to give a talk to my class about Australia, my family life and so on, and do a general Q&A. One of the questions was which place I most wanted to visit in Japan. When I replied “Koyasan”, the class burst into laughter.
I stayed overnight at a temple in Koyasan last week, enjoying communal bathing and traditional temple food in the evening.
It was peaceful and calming and absolutely unforgettable and I hope it won’t be 25 years before I get to go again. On the train on the way down I had an epiphany about my verse novel, which will now include Koyasan in some interesting ways. Perhaps I can use that as an excuse to head back.
I am off to Hokkaido on Monday, coming back via Basho’s old stamping ground of Matsushima and will be offline until Saturday. I will no doubt have more raving to do on my return.