The Temple in the Clouds

We sleep well no boars trouble us. We have the other side of the mountain to do, as we travel down the mountain we go to visit Nageiredo temple. We thought we had seen enough temples in Japan but this one is different it was planned as a training ground for the monks and consists of 11 temples and 4 monks houses. The training path leads out from behind one of the temples. We knew we were in for something different when we had to sign a register and get issued a sash after they looked at and approved the soles of our shoes. If your shoes don’t meet the grade you are issued with rice straw sandals as they have good grip (samurai flip flops) and you leave your shoes behind. To quote the translation ‘along the one hours and a half round trip hike, you will come across very steep parts where you need to hold on wines or ropes to make your way.’ Well the steep parts were very much in evidence a chain, lots of tree roots but sadly the wine was missing. It was an amazing and quite challenging climb broken by reaching not one but two temples in the sky where when you walked out on the veranda it felt like there was nothing beneath you but sky. This however was not the end of the trail there is another temple built in to the rockface, you then walk a tiny path behind this temple to round the corner and see Nageiredo’s last and most impressive temple said to have been cast into a cave by supernatural powers. It is breathtaking clinging to the rock face supported on many wooden stilts and well worth the climb. After returning our sash at the bottom and signing back in we decide to head to Misasa. We found out much later very few Euopeans ever come here, it’s not on the tourist trail or mentioned in travel books. Personally we think its probably all the better for it.
A little further down the valley is Misasa hot springs this one is special as it runs along side a river in the town centre and is a free public open air hot spring. As we haven’t had a good hot wash for a while we stop,  there are three naked men already enjoying a soak.. Etiquete is you wash before entering any baths as you all share the same water. Kev questions us entering wondering if I’m ok with this I’m desperate to wash my hair it feels horrible so I strip to my bra and pants and wash my hair and body, Kev by now has decided to do as the locals do and strips off, so in for a penny in for a pound I too join in. It feels great, its easier to lose your inhibitions in a foreign country when you are never going to see people again. An hour later back at the bike one of the gentlemen in the hot spring approaches asking can he take photos of the bike ?  He asks some other questions which we happily answer and then asks will we join him for a coffee at his hotel?  Kev parks the bike outside and we join him in the restaurant, we get talking and it seems his wife won’t be joining him till tomorrow so he asks if we will stay for dinner. We try to tactfully explain we have to depart now in order to find a camp in the daylight, he then asks us to wait and disapears off only to return saying don’t worry you stay here I have booked a room. We are bowled over by his kindness and once we have discussed and decided to accept we all celebrate with a beer.
  1. #1 by Jane on November 22, 2010 - 10:32 am

    More great blogs and pics, Japan looks such a beautiful country and by the sound of it has wonderful people too – glad they are looking after you well. I hope you sort your travelling problems, by your previous blog you should be loosing the bike today, it must seem very strange when it has been your ‘home’ for so long. Look forward to hearing what you decide to do. It’s due to snow here by the end of the week so looks like we might be heading for another long cold winter at least you are heading to the sunshine! Love Jane xx

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