Day 8: Prayers in the morning...

Trip Start Apr 08, 2010
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10
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Trip End May 06, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Friday, April 16, 2010

Wake up at 6am this morning in order to attend two morning ceremonies at Eko-in: the morning prayer in the big temple at 6:30 and the fire ceremony in the small temple at 7:00.
A monk came and knocked at our door at 6:25. Everybody who said to be interested by joining the ceremonies followed him in the long corridors of the temple. We reached the "big temple" at 6:30 sharp (everything is right on time in Japan !) were 2 monks were waiting for us. They started the prayer and read several sutras. The place was beautiful and the atmosphere very quiet and meditative.
 
At the end of the prayer, everybody went to the "small temple" which is is outside the main building. Actually it is very small and it was difficult for everybody to enter it.

As far as I am concerned, I found some space in a corner, standing and watching the two monks starting the fire ceremony. While one of them was preparing the fire, the other one was banging a drum. In five minutes, the fire was ready and 1m high flames were licking the ceiling of the room. That was very impressive. At the end of the ceremony, everybody had to come close to the "BRAISES" and wave the air above it towards themselves.

We then returned to our room and discovered that the futons had been removed and that breakfast was served. Still a vegetarian and very good breakfast to start the day.

Before going back to Kyoto, we went to Daimon, the grand gateway which is at the west entrance of Koya-san, and that we missed the day before. We walked there (30 minutes) and could admire this huge wooden door which marks one entrance of the city. Daimon was also a good place to see the valley and the mountains in the distance. There was still mist in the valley, and it looked like we were above clouds! Almost in heaven…

We finally walked back to the bus stop and took the us to the cable car station. The way back to Kyoto was ok, and we even had time to grab food at Namba station in a ramen restaurant. This kind of restaurant is really amazing since it is cheap (300-400 yens which is less than 4 euros), good, prepared right in front of view, and so quick! A real competitor to usual fast-food restaurants we used to know.

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