Journey by train across Japan [part 2] : Yokohama, Nara, Koya San

笑う門に副来る      warau kado ni fuku kitaru      « Wealth comes to he who can laugh »

After visiting Kyoto et Nara, we took the train again and continued our trip

1 – Koya San, the holy mountain

Koya San is a 800 meter high mountain accessible through a funicular. In the little town of Koya, you can find a hundred of Buddhist temples and half of them are arranged as overpriced hotel rooms for tourists. There is no other housing opportunity around, so the monks take advantage of it.
In these temples, you can eat vegetarian food, and live at the rhythm of meditation sessions, which take place at 6 in the morning and at 6 in the evening.
koyasanTempleThe rooms are separated by sliding doors in paper, you’d better touch the walls to avoid passing through them. No power outlets in the rooms, or heating, in short a very basic comfort for an average of €100 by night and by person.

koyaSancemeteryKoya San is well known for it cemetery containing nearly 200 000 graves, they say that no one ever succeeded to count them. I’ve seen funkier missions though !

So we walk though a forest of graves of all sizes and shapes and statues. This forest made me think about Tomb Raider, except it was too cold to wear mini shorts and I am far from having Lara Croft’s curves ! Plus, Japanese people are quite friendly, and no one threw knives at us !
koyasanForest  The forest is so wide that we were many times by ourselves in the middle of a heavy vegetation and huge porticos !

2 – Nara, the city of deers

At our arrival, we settled down at the Lohas hotel located in front of the train station. I recommend you this hotel that we chose randomly but turned out to be a good surprise. It is accessible directly from the train station through a bridge leading directly to the docks and there is an Onsen in the hotel.
Nara is well known for its deers which behave like pets : they beg for food and are absolutely not disturbed by the hordes of tourists.
The Tōdai-ji, which is said to be to the biggest wood building of the world is found there as well, with a huge Buddha. For this visit, I made a tour with a guide Laurent recommended. You can contact her at the following address : The tour starts at 10 at the Nara station, in front of the tickets desk. It must be confirmed by the guide, who replies to emails in about 48 hours.

Nara is also known for its kakinohazushi which are wrapped sushi’s in Kaki leaves. It’s fun, you have to unwrap them before eating them, just like a present !

 3 – Yokohama


On the way back, we decided to stop by a random city rather than going back to Tokyo directly. We arrived very late because all the shinkansen between Kyoto and Tokyo were full in the afternoon, despite a departure every 30 minutes, so we had to wait for the evening to have a seat in a train.
Yokohama appears to be the romantic city near Tokyo where Japanese men take young ladies for their dates !
On I found a room at the Intercontinental for €100 instead of €400 !
The breakfast was in room service : my guilty pleasure ! For me, who use to travel on people’s sofas or carpets, it’s been a real pleasure to spend a night in a palace !
My trip to Japan in 3 minutes :