By staying overnight at a Buddhist monastery in Koyasan (Mount Koya), I fulfilled a long held dream. It was quite a unique experience, and a peek behind the curtain to see how monks in a monastery actually live. It was quite something to see them, up and ready by 4 am, chanting their prayers and then personally serving you breakfast by 5.30 am.
I've never eaten breakfast that early before, but if your last meal was dinner at the same monastery twelve hours ago, I guarantee you that your appetite is knife-sharp!
The food is completely vegan, and the flavors take a while to get used to, especially if you are used to a classical continental breakfast. But the food is amazingly flavorful, it powers you all day long, and is really light on your stomach.
The things the monastery cooks can do with simple soya and tofu is to be seen to be believed. A day's stay in the monastery will get you a dinner and a breakfast, served in your own private room. Eating your meals on a silken cushion in a ten-tatami mat room, surrounded by shoji screens with exquisite gold lacquer work and paint is definitely an AFAR-worthy experience. A must see.