Today we were pilgrims on a journey to Koyasan. It is a special town 100minutes by train from Osaka. It is a lovely ride away from the hustling city of 8million! The train winds itself up into the hills, lush with trees and valleys. At the last stop you change onto a tram on a cog railway that takes you high up to a plateau. We bought a pass for the day to get around and joined others for a very windy road leading into the forested ancient town. (cue misty clouds here) our first stop was a mausoleum set in a forest of ancient evergreen trees. We wandered through and breathed deep the fresh smell, and the beauty of this place. A stone path lead us to a buddhist temple where a shrine is laid, and amongst the temple were strung thousands of lanterns. You get the feeling that many who practice Buddhism take a journey here once in their lifetime. There are hundreds of trees stretching to the sky in this place, and moss covered stone shrines of thousands. Death is honored here. Along the way we met monks, and journeying Buddhist groups. People had come to lay offerings to the dead, some shrines had sake on top and others sheaths of evergreen. Among the cemetery were many Shinto shrines as well with animals dressed in special bins. I am afraid I don't know much about either religion, but I can appreciate the sacred space here.
We walked on to another Buddhist temple, known to be the head of all of them. Here we stopped for tea and gazed at a large rock garden. I think I'm getting the hang of this life here in Japan. There is so much to see and so much to tell you. But for now I leave you with the thought that this life is beautiful....wether traveling to sacred places or in the company of loved ones. Being away from home makes me realize how precious our lives are. Looking forward to spending more of it with you.
Tonight we meet an old friend of Chris's and Tomorrow we return to Kyoto. I hope you are enjoying hearing our stories! Send us a message if you like!