The 'M'-ster and I began the day navigating, our way by Subway to the Open Air Museum of Traditional Japanese Farmhouses, which as it so happens is really interesting from the outside, as this was all we saw due to the fact that it was closed. Ooops. We decided instead to check out a temple that we had seen billboards for at one of the train stations. So using my 'emergency' Internet connection, this is an emergency I swear, I charted a route, which turned out to only be one more station along, followed by a bus. Perfect.
We make our way onto the bus, anxious that we are going the right way as it leaves the city, climbing into the hills, weaving in and out of lorries at break-neck speed, up on the narrow mountain road. We arrived, slightly shaken at our destination, the temple, Katsuoji, is the temple for good luck at games. When worshipping, the faithful, take these little rolley polley figurines, most of which are bright vermilion, but some in natural wood, and place them all over the temple. There are thousands of them. The temple of good luck in games, becomes almost a game itself of 'Find the Rolley Polleys' who hide in nooks and crannies everywhere. Up in the eaves, some sit, others in the cracks between stones in the walls, hundreds like sentinels, sit facing out at the valley below. M and I scale the stairs to the highest temple building and park ourselves on the benches outside.
Whilst seated there, a deep voice, emanating from what seems to be the mountain itself begins to chant. The long slow melodic song of prayer is joined by the padding of a hand drum, and they echo out over the entire valley. M and I sit, staring out over the beautiful vista, Osaka city way off in the distance, listening to the monk, and soaking up the experience. Having the farm house museum be closed could not have been more perfect.