Friday, July 18, 2014

From Kyoto to Koyasan...

... in Twelve Easy Steps!

Step 1:  Take shuttle from hotel to train station.

(photo from here, since I was wrangling bags at the time)

Step 2: Train from Kyoto to Osaka:

Yay!  You made it to Osaka!

Step 3:  Take a loop train from Osaka to Shin-Imamiya:

Many elderly passengers and kids got off at
the Universal Studios stop along the way.

Yay!  You made it to Shin-Imamiya:

Note the painted walkway that not only shows you where to stand in line for the train doors,
but exactly how far apart to stand from your fellow passengers.

Step 4:  Find the Nankai ticket office (NOT the JR Line) and purchase the "World Heritage Pass":

Step 5:  Take the train from Shin-Imamiya towards Koyasan:

Bonus fun:  You get to know which platform to catch the train on, but not what train you actually caught.  Use the route chart above the door and your powers of deduction to figure out which line you're actually on.  This may get tricky when half the train stations only list the stop names in kanji.  Extra points if you can do so before you miss the stop to transfer at to actually get to Gokurakubashi!

Step 6: Enjoy the view as the scenery transforms from city to suburbs to countryside to mountains:

Step 7:  Get off the train and transfer to another line.  You'll know when to do this not because you've figured out the charts, but because the train conductor will stick his head in the car, note that you are the only non-Japanese person on board, and say, "Koyasan?  Get off here."

Step 8:  Another train!

Scenes from Step 8:

Yay!  You made it to Gokurakubashi!

The train station welcomes you with an enchanting display of furin (wind chimes) decorated with wishes from local children:

Step 9: Board the cable car:

The incredibly steep cable car:

Step 10:  Take a bus from the funicular station to your temple:

Yay!  The cable car station workers have handouts to help you do this!  With color illustrations!  And they're in English!

Would every public transportation route I've attempted provide such a thing!

Scenery from Step 10:

Step 11:  Walk down the side street the driver points to when he tells you "You stop here."

Step 12:  Praise Buddha that they have an English sign identifying the temple you're looking for.

Congratulations!  You made it from Kyoto to Koyasan in just 12 easy steps!  You are well on your way down the path to enlightenment.

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