After breakfast, Taeko’s husband gave us a lift to the subway station and Taeko, Ela and I got the subway to Umeda where we met up with Taeko’s english teacher and friend for our excursion to Minoh/Mino-o – spelling seems to be interchangeable!
We got the train to Mino-o station and then walked through beautiful forest, along the river to Minoh Waterfall. The area used to have a problem with monkeys, but since there’s huge fines for feeding them etc, they no longer hang around – we didn’t see one!
Taeko and Atsumi had both been here before, but not for many years. They seemed to enjoy the day as much as we did, or more!
There were paths off the main one we were following all over the place, and if I was alone, I might have gone exploring. But as it turns out, we did plenty of walking!
One of the specialties of the area is tempura maple leaves. When we got to the waterfall Atsumi or Taeko bought some for us to try. They were quite nice.
The ladies then wanted to go to Katsuo-Ji Temple. I thought they said it was 1.5km away, but it was actually 3.5km – and all of it up hill, along the roadside…The ladies had no trouble, but Ela and I were definitely flagging! It seemed to take forever, but according to my Google Location history, it was only about 1 hour of walking…
Once we got to the temple, which Atsumi had been to recently, we decided to have lunch and find out how to get back to Osaka with public transport. We weren’t walking that back!
Much refreshed, we then checked out the temple. It’s set in the forest-covered mountainside. Very beautiful. It’s not so touristy either. The place has Daruma dolls scattered everywhere! Apparently you buy a wish and if it comes true, you bring it back to the temple and put it somewhere in the grounds.
Atsumi bought us both a ‘fortune’ Daruma. Mine was especially good, apparently. Hope it comes true 🙂
Atsumi had her pilgrimage book signed while we were there and then we wandered up to the topmost building in the complex. It was a construction site though, so we came back down.
There were some nice views along the way:
There’s a nice pagoda in the complex:
And a Shinto shrine as well, on the lake. Very pretty:
Of course, the lake was full of Koi – hungry ones!
We still had about an hour until the bus was due, so we went back into the restaurant/gift shop area and had some macha and dessert while we watched the pilgrims arrive and then feed the fish.
Then we got the bus to the train and the train to the subway and got picked up and taken home. Taeko’s daughter-in-law had already started preparing dinner for us all. It was a Nabe dinner – where everything is cooked in a pot, like Shabu Shabu. You basically pick what meat you want and cook it in the pot and then eat it. It was delicious, especially with the Ponzu sauce!
After dinner, Kazenori took us to see his Danjiri. Apparently he’s the manager of his Danjiri crew and knows where the keys are! I was allowed to photograph it, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post the photos, since it’s not the festival time. I’ll find out and update the post if I’m allowed to.
And so ended our last night in Japan. Wednesday was just some shopping for souvenirs etc to take home. And a bag to take them home in… Taeko and her hubby gave us a lift to the bus stop and we were the only passengers on a coach that did an express trip to the airport. It was nice to see the lights of the big city on our way there… and then the flight from Osaka to Singapore, waiting around Singapore airport, the flight from Singapore to Brisbane…that was all not so nice. But necessary.