Our trip to Japan has been out of this world. We wanted to experience many types of accommodations so we have stayed in some pretty amazing places. One of the most unique was a 1,000 year-old Buddist Temple in Koyasan.It took two separate trains, a subway, a steep cable car straight up a mountain and finally a bus to get there. Between the second train and the subway ride, we were starving so braved the Udon soup which was served in a tiny building right on the platform.
It was delicious! Luckily my daughter navigated because I’m not sure I could have figured it out.
By the time we got off the bus, I was dragging my tail feathers. My luggage seemed small until I had to schlep it around all day, haul it on and off trains and up and down stairs where there was no escalator. Koyasan is a very special and sacred place, considered the birthplace of Shingon Buddhism. Our temple, Ekoin, is one of many traditional Shukubo lodgings available for travelers to experience simple Buddhist monk lifestyle.
Once you enter the front gates, tranquility surrounds you. You leave your shoes at the door, wear their supplied slippers and enter a different world.
After checking in we were shown to our room which had paper sliding screens and tatami-mat floors.
The room came equipped with a portable heater because there is no central heat and it was cold!
The meals are served in your room and are traditional Buddhist vegan style.
After dinner was cleared the monks came in and set up futons for us to sleep in. The pillows felt like bean bags and weren’t the comfiest, but the mattress was great!
The following morning we attended traditional services in the main temple. The monks chanted for about 30 minutes and we were given the opportunity to add incense to the urn and offer blessings for our ancestors.
After breakfast, we wandered through the Okunoin Cemetery. It is Japan’s biggest and home to more than 200,000 graves of Buddhist monks. It dates back to at least 816AD, and every inch of it is sacred.
Century-old cedar trees tower over the moss-covered tombstones. We wandered through without another person in sight, quiet and peaceful. The leaves were turning because the air was so crisp and the entire experience was surreal.
After a quick cup of green tea to warm up, we boarded the bus and started our long journey to our next stop.
If you are able to visit Koyasan, I highly recommend it!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!