Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday, Apr 8th, Koyasan, Japan


A taxi, bullet train, subway, express train, walk, funicular, bus, and walk took us to lunch, and the start of a day which would end with a stay tonight at a Buddhist temple inn in Koyosan on a thin mat in the cold after a very vegetarian dinner served by the resident monks.

The afternoon began with a visit to the Kongobu-ji Temple Complex, home of Koyosan Shingon Buddhism, founded by Kukai (Kobo Daishi) in 812AD. Kukai is considered the most important religious figure in Japan's history, and the grand master of Shingon Buddhism.  And later in the day, we learned that he's asleep at the second stop we made - the Okunoin Temple.  Being served meals each day, his followers expect him to awaken in 5.7 billion years.

The real treasure of the day was clearly the host of temples and shrines and the cemetery at Koyosan.  A wonderful city burstng with temples, Koyosan sits in a valley between eight peaks high in the mountains of Japan.  It's likened to being in the middle of a lotus flower, but in the snow. We have been carrying around long underwear and jackets throughout the first month of our trip in very heavy suitcases.  Now, we're very glad we did.

Before returning to our inn, we took a long walk through the cemetery here.  With over 200,000 inhabitants (not really dead?) awaiting the awakening, it's more like a sea of monuments than a cemetery.  Add to it that there are thousands of mature (500-800 year-old) huge Japanese cedars, and you get an awesome display of devotion and belief.  Twelve hundred years of transporting almost a million tons of granite, found nowhere near here, to carve and use as tributes to Japan's Shoguns, Emperors, and greatest corporate leaders - is so beautifully exhibited and maintained.

To see all of the photos (lots of good ones) taken today, click on Sunday, Apr 8th, Koyosan, Japan.

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