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April 5, 2013 - Koyasan - Okunoin Temple & Temple Stay
I've been to many places in Japan, but Koyasan seems to be one of my favorite. I'm also not a religious person, but this area does feel spiritual. For this travel report, I'll be covering Okunoin temple along with my temple stay in Koyasan.
Okunoin temple is Japan's largest cemetery - over 200,000 of them. The oldest grave dates back to the 11th century and it's often stated as being the most spiritual place in Japan. Even if your not spiritual - this place can only be described as amazing. You can spend hours walking the small paths and you feel as though you are discovering a lost world at times.
There are 2 entrances to Okunoin. 1 is 2 km's long and the other is 1 km. I strongly suggest taking the longer journey first as it the much more interesting of the two. The shorter entrance has the newer graves which can be seen below.
There are 52 different temple stay locations. I chose Eko-in which is close to Okunoin. A simple Za-Zen meditation lesson was given in the afternoon, along with a temple service and fire service at 6:30AM and 7AM respectively.