A very early morning

Written by Thimo & Marco

Alarms started ringing at 4:15 am today as there were a lot of early morning activities.
Last night, people already explored the temple grounds and found a beautiful hike up the mountain to a viewing point that reached sight to multiple city’s.
Therefore, some of us decided to go up again in the morning to enjoy the views during sunrise.
The sunrise was a quick one though, as sunrise was planned at 04:57 and the fire ceremony started at 05:00. After taking a few pictures we hurried down and reached the location on time, but drowned in sweat.
Even though the heat of the fire did not improve our state, it was still quite the experience as the ceremony was filled with singing, drumming and visuals. After the ceremony was done we were allowed to wave the smoke of the fire towards us, as this would bring luck, and pray to the god in the chamber besides the firepit.
Immediately afterwards, the morning prayer happened in de main temple, but as this cost 5000 yen (~32 euro’s) to attend and watching it from the outside was free, we as dutch students of course chose to watch it from the outside.

Later on, after enjoying the breakfast in our Yukata and made a group picture, we left for Nara. While the busses here don’t take 32 people at ones, we split the group in two and met again in Nara park.
Nara park is known for its many cultural sites and not to forget, the deer! The many, many deer. The deers were tame, so you could easily pet them. However, once someone got the buyable cookies in their hand, the tame deer became greedy beasts that tried to get their snack, which resulted in one of us getting headbutted in the balls (by accident of course).
After visiting some cultural sites in the park like the massive Buddha in the buddhistic temple and eating some udon noodles, we eventually gathered again to leave for Kyoto.

Drowned in sweat again (yes, this will be a reoccurring thing during the trip) we dragged our suitcases to the new hotel and enjoyed our well deserved showers and got some time to rest, eat and prepare for tomorrow.
New city and many more new adventures to come, so read you tomorrow!