This morning it felt like we woke up extremely early, probably because we are still recovering from our lag. Once we met up with the group and made our way to our separate cars in order to go to the area where the cable car is, we compared and discussed what each of our host families were like. Unfortunately, the GPS in the cars seemed to take us to another area instead of where we were supposed to get on to the cable car. While waiting in the car, our conversations seem to center around k-pop and j-pop with Makayla and Nicole in the center. Luckily, we were able to figure out where to go to get to Koyasan! The little, secluded mountain town was very busy with many visitors and tourists! Although it was very busy, Kenna still described it as a (quote) "Little and cozy town despite many tourists." After a delicious meal with Fullmer Sensei, Nicole, Kenna, and Makayla consisting of udon, orange juice, tempura, and other delicious foods we were able to meet back together again as a big group. We were able to enjoy the perfect weather, about 60 degrees with a slight breeze, as we hiked through the boichi. We learned why the people were buried in such a rich and historical (1200 years old!) graveyard. The people who were extremely rich or people who have worked for a lifetime in a wealthy company usually are buried there. I'm sure that everyone in my group was stunned by the beauty that surrounded us because I sure was! With the combination of moss, flowers, and historical structures it created the perfect picture! We were able to visit the wooden temples where the monks would recite prayers. As soon as I stepped up to the temple I entered a place where you can only hear the monk's chant and smell only the burning incense. This world heritage site is more than 1,000 years old with its old teaching and meditation sites. It was quite the experience. In the basement level of the main temple, there was a room with hundreds of lanterns that led up to where Kobo Daishi (the founder of this particular sect of Buddhim) was enshrined, and thought by some to still be alive (Again, 1200 or so years old).
On the way home, we were able to visit a convenient store to buy some snacks and then make our way to the cable car. The feeling of going down the cable car was sensational! After catching our train and car ride we were able to make our way to Sayama City to watch a group of school students dance. Their dancing was spectacular! We enjoyed playing the games with them and we had the opportunity to high-five them all! Soon after that, we were able to enjoy meeting new families and people at Spa Hills (an onsen). After another stunning performance from the dancers, we all had to give our long introductions. None of us realized that we would have to give them so we tried our best! Between the power point not working and short notice I think that we did a very good job. We got to enjoy more games including one with assembling a dice and then one with blowing a paper bag up with fans. After enjoying the rest of the party we got to enjoy the onsen! Although everyone was very reluctant at first to try it everyone did enjoy the cultural experience! I can't wait to see what other experiences are waiting for us in the future!