“I fill my lungs with fresh mountain air as I enter Okunoin, the largest cemetery in Japan. Surrounded by enormous cedar trees and chirping birds, this buddhist cemetery feels like a magical place.”
Located on the sacred mountain Koya, Okunoin is a holy site founded by the monk Kobo Daishi. Legends says he is still alive, waiting in eternal meditation for the Buddha of the Future. This place is mystical, almost magical and most of all just beautiful – no matter what you believe in. It’s a wonderful place to wander around, breath in that fresh mountain air and be one with nature and history.
While wandering around the place can be satisfying alone, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Torodo Hall. This holy place, a hall with more than 10,000 lanterns, is built in front of Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum. If you really want to see something special, get up early and watch the chanting monks in the temple. Truly mesmerizing! As this temple is so sacred, you can’t photograph or eat once you’ve crossed the bridge. Believe me though when I say the temple was impressive!
The Ekoin temple also offers a night tour through the cemetery, with a monk telling you funny ghost stories and the path being lit by beautiful lanterns. If this is too touristic for you, just wandering around by night gives the place a whole new magical vibe either way.