Friday, 5 March 2010


I arrived in Kyoto a couple of days ago and yesterday I decided to walk a mountain trail I had seen described in a book. And since I was going to walk in the mountains, I thought, I may as well walk to the start of the trail since - according to my map - that was a pleasant walk along the river. Which, indeed, it was. But it was a two hour walk along the river. Even stopping for a coffee before carrying on didn't fully recharge my batteries, but it was too late to go back now.

So I set off, not exerting myself too much and before too long - perhaps an hour and a bit - had reached the summit of the mountain - Daimonji ("large charcter", so called because during a festival a giant kanji character of the word "big" 大 is lit up on the side in fire).

So I figured I was making good time. I continued the path, making sure to always check the signs at junctions so I was heading towards the next spot on the trail. As it turned out, this too a while. And while I was expecting a steady descent, the path meandered about, going down and then - cruelly - up and with each sign it still pointed towards this place I was heading to with no indication if I was getting any closer. This went on for an hour, with my legs getting increasingly tired. If I hadn't had a compass with me to reassure myself I was always heading south, I'm sure I would've thought I was going in circles.

Finally, arrived at this place but that was cold comfort since the book assured me that after this was another hour of walking. At least for now on it was all downhill, and there were some pretty interesting little shrines dotted along the way, and a waterfall where buddhist pilgrims pray nude while standing under it. No photos of that, since there was one there disrobing as I went past and I didn't want to intrude.

Finally got back into Kyoto after four and a bit hours in the mountains and collapsed into the nearest coffee shop.

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