After some adventures we arrived at Koyasan, the sacred mountain. Koyasan is celebrating the 1200-year anniversary of its founding. Temples, monks and pilgrims everywhere! Also, it’s cold… so there were still Sakura!
We had booked a night in a temple (Shukubo) which meant that we would eat a vegetarian meal made by monks at 6 PM and get up at 5.30 AM for the morning prayer. It was a great experience!
One of the most visited places in Koyasan is the graveyard. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place with giant trees and old, mossy stones.
There are hundreds of Jizo statues scattered all over the graveyard, often covered in moss and plants. People like to put clothes on the statues to protect them from bad weather and keep them warm. It is believed that Jizo statues protect the souls of children that die before their parents. It is heartbreaking to see children’s clothing, bibs or toys put near the statues by grieving parents.
Nara was once Japan’s capital. You can find many temples there, as well as a giant Buddha statue made of bronze (inside Todai-Ji)… but the most awesome thing about this place are the deer! They roam the streets and the parcs and you can buy crackers to feed them. I don’t know who taught them to be so polite, but they bow in order to get more food. It’s adorable!
We walked past this small shrine decorated with pink hearts. You could pray for love and read your fortune on a paper you dipped in water. Looked fun!
Part 4: Kagoshima and Yakushima