A sacred ground of the mountain top
15 July 2015
Koyasan is founded twelve centuries ago by Kobo Daishi for the study and practice of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism in Japan. There is situated about 1000 meters above sea level, there is formed the holy city with "Kongobuji Temple (headquarter of Shingon Buddhism)" as a center and more than 100 temples. Koyasan was registered to World Heritage List at 2004. And, Koyasan is selected to “Best of the World 20 Places You Should See in 2015” on NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER. Koyasan is interest place from all over the world now. There is a lot of historic temples and beautiful scenery.
But, Koyasan is not a mere sightseeing place. There is keeping the precept of Kobo Daishi.
I looked many white costume pilgrims in Koyasan. They walk from temple to temple, they pray sincerely at every temples. Koyasan is called "O-Yama" from many people. "O-Yama" is meaning "The Mountain". That name is filled with adoration mind for a sacred ground.
In latter part of May, I went to Koyasan with my wife and her parents. At first we went through a big gate that separate a sacred ground and outside. Next we went to OkunoIn. Okunoin is the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. There is the most sacred place of Koyasan. According to legend, Kobo Daishi is practicing in Okunoin even now. The road to the mausoleum, there was many large trees both sides, and lined many tombstones. It was a mysterious scenery. We lighted candle, burned incense, and prayed at the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. Wife’s parents who wished the visit to Koyasan, they were very happy. I’m not Buddhist, but I also was felt to be a special place there.
So the accommodation of Koyasan is different a common tourist destination. Koyasan do not have usual hotel or Japanese ryokan. If you hope overnight in Koyasan, you must stay at Shukubo that guest room of temples. Of course we were served clean futon, delicious food at Shukubo. Dinner and breakfast was Vegetarian Cooking (Shojin-ryori) which many colorful dishes. Young monks served cooking, and prepared futon at Shukubo. All attendance for guest is important training for young monks. And, we took part in Gongyo(early morning pray) at next morning. All things were first experience, and invaluable experience for me.
The second day, we went to "Kongobuji Temple", "Danjo Garan", "Konpon Daito" etc.
Many visitor worshiped with folded hands everywhere. I thought when looked there people. Koyasan is place of prayer and faith even now. I felt like a recreating myself through all the experience in Koyasan. I must thank to wife’s parents which wished worship of Koyasan.
Koyasan is a small religious city in the heart of a mountain. There don't have exciting attraction and luxurious restaurant. But, Koyasan have pure world. If you visit to Koyasan, you will feel to cleanse your soul.