A trip to Koya – a Holy Mountain – with Japanese local.

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Koyasan is a town lying in the flank of Koya sacred mountain, Wakayama prefecture with the population is about 3.000 inhabitants. In 2004, Koya was regarded as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
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In present days, this place is known as a centre of Shingon branch of Japanese buddhism, influenced by a buddhism branch from China and was imported to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi or usually called Kuka. He is also the monk who received a lot of respects for his devotees of Japanese buddhism.

If  you want to stay overnight, Fudoin temple always welcome you and with delicious vegetarian meals cooked by monks. But the most surprising thing is that you can drink alcohol in the temple. Isn’t it cool? Man, the one and only Japan.
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In japan, some buddhism branches don’t follow strict rules like buddhism in Thailand, or buddhism in Bhutan… – where alcohol is prohibited in the pagoda. Moreover, Japanese monks are allowed to get married and have children and don’t have to eat vegetarian permanently.

Despite their permission of beer, all food in temples have to be vegetarian food to obey to buddhism’s spirit. Japanese call this cuisine style Shojin Ryori. After the meal, you will be guided to discover the origin and rules in Japanese buddhism as well as customs and culture of this country.
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Fudoin is 52 of 117 temples in Koyasan that allows tourists to stay overnight. The view of this temple is so tranquil with lush forests,  clean stoned roads, restaurants, coffee shops and souvenir shops.

At Koyasan, each gate, each pagoda brings themselves their own hoary beauties. Specially, 20 monuments in Danjo Garan (a complex of temples, graved statues) – where is considered a second sacred place in Koyasan. The most beautiful place is Banryu Tei, a largest rock garden of Japan. This garden is located at Kongobuji pagoda and was completed the construction in 1984 to celebrate 1150 years of death of Kobo Daishi.

Bukchon Hanok Village

However, the peak of the journey to Koyasan is Okunoin, Kobo Daishi tomb – the most sacred place in Koyasan. Tourists are supposed to pass by Ichino Hashi bridge to reach the tomb and  show their sincerity with Kobo Daishi by bowing their heads. On the other side of the bridge is the largest graveyard of Japan with 200.000 graves. Japanese believe that they would receive equanimity in the other world when lying near Kobo Daishi.
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At 7 a.m at Fudoin, you can participate in a morning chanting ceremony and will be offered 2 prayer-book in both Japanese and English if you want to meditate with monks. After the ceremony,  there will be breakfast served with Shojin.

A trip to Koya – a Holy Mountain – with Japanese local.

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