|Near the entrance I met a guy who was doing a pilgrimage to 33 temples surrounding Kyoto. I asked him if was doing it because he was a monk and he replied "no, I'm doing it because I want to go to heaven and not hell."|
|It was called Yoshimine Temple and was built into the side of the mountain overlooking Kyoto|
|I had a realisation up there that all Japanese temples I have seen so far are built in such a way that is meant to provide inner harmony|
|Even the carp are relaxing to watch|
|And they come to say hello|
|Kyoto in the distance|
I started down the mountain and it started to rain again for a bit, so I took shelter under the roof of a small shrine. I donned my wet weather gear and walk a bit but the sun decided to come again, rendering my efforts in vain:
|A tree with some religious significance.|
|So I had six mandarins to eat|
I sat down and ate three of them (they tasted great), gave one away to a passing hiker, and kept the other two for later. I continued on and passed through some valleys and down some roads. They were doing some major construction for a new freeway somewhere along the way:
I started up what I planned to be the last mountain for the day, Mt Ryuo, and as I rounded a corner I saw this:
|Right in the distance, if you look closely it is...|
It turned out my ambition paid off. At the top of Mt Ryuo I found this:
|I almost creamed my pants at the sight|
I rushed up the top and found a large wooden platform with one of the best views of a city I have ever seen in my life:
|As I was looking out over my final destination I realised just how close I was to finishing and found myself overcome with emotion|
|With all that said, I thought a celebratory jumping photo to mark the achievement was in order.|
|It took a little time and some clever work, but I managed to get the outer fly taunt enough so it wasn't flapping in the wind constantly|
It turned out Mr Shimada came up here often because he believed it be a place of power.
"The name of the mountain means dragon you know" he said, "you can feel it's a place of power, aptly named so."
I asked him if he came up here often and he said once in a while to practice his martial arts. I asked him what martial arts he did, and he told me kung fu.
"Want to see some?" he asked.
"Sure" I said.
He asked me for my trekking pole and extended it out to its full length, and then put on an awesome display:
It was one of those moments where I was struck by the bizarreness of it all. Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome experience, but here I was, on top of wooden tower on top of a mountain overlooking Osaka, watching a Japanese man I had met only twenty minutes earlier, use my trekking pole to preform an intricate routine from a Chinese martial art. I was conscious of the fact as I was experiencing it that this was one of those strange but awesome moments you only get when traveling, where you find yourself in a situation so unlikely and odd, it makes you smile. I insisted on a photo together, then thanked him for his display and he wished me luck and told me to take care:
|Thanks Mr Shimada, you made my night much more interesting than I thought it was going to be|
I only have about 20 kilometres to walk tomorrow, and then I am finished and free. Can't wait.