We had a nice family from Singapore visiting Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine and Koyasan.
They had a rented car, so I met them around 9 a.m. at Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine at Katsuragi town situated halfway up to Koyasan. Visiting Niutsuhime-jinjya Shrine before visiting Koyasan is an ideal way to know about Japanese religion, the fusion of Shintoism and Buddhism. They learned the difference between Shintoism and Buddhism and how Niutsuhime-jinjya Shrine is related to Koyasan. After Niutsuhime-jinjya Shrine, we drove up to Koyasan.
We started our Koyasan tour at Daimon Gate. They had general information about Koyasan from me. Then we moved to Garan, the first place Kobo Daishi-Kukai, the founder of Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan, established as a training center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism soon after he founded Koyasan. It is one of the two most sacred areas in Koyasan. At Garan area, they learned how Kobo Daishi-Kukai expressed his teaching of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism – the unshakable wisdom and the great compassion and these two are the non duality of two mandalas.
After that we had hot meal for lunch at a restaurant called Nanzan. Since it was so cold, hot meal really warmed us up.
After lunch, we headed for Ichinohashi bridge on foot, the entrance to Okuno- in area, the other most sacred area in Koyasan. On the way, we happened to witness the Buddhist rite of lighting a holy fire at Shojyoshin-in Temple.
At Okuno-in area, we enjoyed walking along the pass finding famous Samurai gravestones standing on both sides of the pass flanked by tall centuries-old ceder trees. They were quite familiar with Samurai warriors in Japanese civil war period. They learned why there are so many tombstones or grave stones regardless of their denominations there. It was a lot of fun to walk with them!!
After Okuno-in area, we moved to Kongobuji Temple by bus, and lastly visited Kongobuji temple.
We walked a lot in the cold and talked a lot about Japanese religion and the culture. Thank you for visiting Koyasan and having me as a guide. I really had a great time talking with all of you during the tour. Come visit us again!!!