Now that I have a little time, heres the details on my stay in Koya-San.
After staying with Nori in Osaka I traveled south Koya-san, I took a long train ride to the last stop, a cable car up a mountain to get there but it was well worth it, my stay was definately one that I hope to remember for a while.
Koya-san is a basin 1000m up in the mountains where a monk founded a new form of pure buddhism some centuries ago, it is now a small rural town but with some buddhist temples that are also guest houses for you to stay in. I spent a night staying in one of these and exploring the area.
My stay involved spending a night in this buddhist temple which has had rooms converted for guests, all the staff are buddhist monks, you have the traditional style room with paper sliding doors and inner windows and sleep on a floor matt.
They cook a dinner and breakfast for you using their traditional recipies, which means only vegetables, no meat,fish, onion or garlic. They also had a very different idea of heat economy to us which involved having no external closing doors, only those in the rooms and seeming no heating other than the small heaters you can use in your room though you cant keep these on at night. I noticed a thermometer inside the building read below 0 during the day so Im not quite sure what it was at night, but not hot.
In the morning we got up at 7am for 1hrs prayers before breakfast, this was definately the best part that I felt priveleged to be able to watch and be involved in too, they kneel in these impressive shrines and chant prayers for an hour, you kneel and watch and are also requested to have a small part in the ceremony which was really cool. This like many of the other most interesting experiences (anything involving rituals or the iniside of a temple shrine) you are either not allowed to take photos of or would feel very rude doing so, so these aspects remain stored safely inside my head instead.
I also had a Japanese Onsen, this is a public bath which is really relaxing, though really hot at first, some of them come from natural hot springs but Im presuming this one wasnt given the location.
I also explored the area having a nice walk around through the woods and through the massive sacred graveyard they have which important people from around the country have been buried in, this is in a really awesome setting and stretches for miles through the woods up to a temple containing thousands of sacred buddhist scrolls.
It was a really cool experience and for anyone planning on going to Japan at any stage I would say it really has to be done, if just to experience the beautiful countryside, old traditional ways and calm atmosphere that contrasts with Japans modern, busy though exciting cities.
There are a couple of pictures and videos from this one.