The days are very fresh in Koyasan.
Accommodations occurring only in the monasteries of the city, we eat early, we go to bed early and wake up early: prayer is at 6:30.
It is sung by two priest dressed all in purple. The song is very rhythmic, but almost monotone. He has something very hypnotic, which captures the thread of thoughts and prevents wander. This would be a perfect medium for meditation. The two priests do not regain their breath at the same time as in Western songs that appear as silence: there is always a note or syllable sung. The song here is a long continuous thread that runs quietly, peacefully.
We were out very early, around 8:00, and the polar temperatures have made us change our program. We planned a hike in the forest, on the path of pilgrims, what would leads us in the woods for about 5 hours. It was necessary to provide the picnic. We were also not fully equipped for the cold. So, to avoid losing a toe or the nose, turned into ice, we decided to do a more traditional route, from temple to temple, or better, from maple to maple.
The walk in the cemetery is undoubtedly a classic, but it’s always nice. I always find it very surprising that to walk in the middle of 200,000 graves is also soothing. The cemetery is very mineral, with its tombs, its stone lanterns, statues and paths, but literally invaded by plants, especially those big Japanese cypress and moss, which is everywhere, covering everything, slowly, green.
We arrived at the temple housing Kobo Daishi, the founder of Koyasan, which according to legend is always in meditation after some 1,200 years, awaiting the coming of the next Buddha. The character is still much loved in Japan, because of its significant contributions to Japanese culture and esoteric Buddhism.
By returning wander among the temples, we went hunting for maples, because here with these temperatures, they look like torches in the middle of the dark forest of cypresses. What is striking is the lack of unity in the colors: one tree can have some of its pale yellow foliage, almost green, another a pronounced red and some leaves may be a deep red.
And this is obviously beautiful.