Tiny Hippo Tucks in a Tree

Tiny Hippo with Mossy Tree

Tiny has noticed that some of the trees in Japan need tucking in with tiny blankets before they can go to sleep

Tiny Hippo Climbs a Tree

Being a kind and caring hippo he has taken it upon himself to make sure that they are snugly tucked in

Tiny Hippo Wraps Tree

“Yes,” he murmurs “very snug and cozy, perfect for winter”

Tree Wrap, Japan

The next time you see a tree with a wee blanket, you will know that a Tiny Hippo is near

Tiny Hippo Arrives in Kyoto, it Rains

Kyoto in the Rain

I have arrived in Kyoto, a lovely city, but it is raining!

Kyoto Workers in the Rain

At first I found the rain rather depressing

 

Little Ones with Umbrellas

Then I noticed all the bright and cheerful umbrellas that people were carrying!

Woman on Bike with Umbrella

They were even riding bikes with their smashing umbrellas.

Little Kids with Umbrellas

I had to find an umbrella suited to my specific needs, if they make them small enough for these wee children there must be Tiny Hippo sized ‘brellies.

Tiny Hippo with Umbrella

Eureka! I found an umbrella just my size, and it has little elephants on it too! Rain here I come!

Tiny Hippo Stays at a Temple

Tiny Hippo in the Fall

If you are spending the night on Mount Koya, you will need a place to rest your Tiny Hippo

Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin Shukubo

While there aren’t any hotels on the mountain, there are shukubos which are temple lodgings run by monks. This was our shukubo: Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin

Inside temple lodgings

We enjoyed the tradition architecture complete with tatami mats and shoji doors

Garden at temple

The meticulously designed gardens were a thing of beauty

Gravel design in rock garden

Just be careful where you tread, only the leaves are allowed to venture onto the intricate patterns

Koi pond

Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin was the only lodging on the mountain that had its own hot spring for bathing, as it would be indecent for me to photograph such things, here is the koi pond

Tiny Hippo and the Buddha

As evening falls, you may wish to expand your mind with the teachings of the enlightened one

Dinner at Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin

The vegetarian feast provided by the monks is served in your room. Some of the dishes come with their own fire to keep them toasty warm

Tiny Hippo Feasts

Each dish holds new surprises for the adventurous Tiny Hippo

Dinner in Japan

Don’t worry though, it is all delicious!

Tiny Hippo in the Moss

I left my wonderful temple lodging in Koyason relaxed and rejuvenated. Onward to Kyoto!

Welcome to Koyasan

The next stop on my tour of Japan is Koyasan!

Koyasan

Koyasan is a small temple town atop Mount Koya, it is the center of Shingon Buddhism.

Koyasan Pilgrim

Koyasan welcomes pilgrims and visitors alike.

Koyasan Building

This mountain top sanctuary is full of hidden gems just off the beaten trail. We found this building hidden at the end of an old path.

Seated Buddha, Mount Koya

The giant cemetery of Koyasan is a mixture of old and new, this Buddha seemed fairly new…

Koyasan Lanterns

while these stone lanterns seem to be disappearing into the mountain.

Koyasan Monks

We were lucky enough to witness a chanting meditation taking place in the extremely cold river. It was an awe-inspiring experience. Onlookers joined in the chanting, I only wish that I had known the words.

Koyasan

Koyasan is a wonderful place where centuries of religious devotion can be witnessed and honored.