In a nightclub with Japanese monks – Ghumi Ghumi For Fashionistas

In a nightclub with Japanese monks – Ghumi Ghumi For Fashionistas

By Oghale May8,2024

From nine o’clock in the evening, the cumin of Congo rushed to every corner of the temple building. It sounded both ghostly and cozy. The night had begun. The bed was a sister’s bed with thin mattresses on the floor. The pillow was hard and lumpy like a bag of rice. I don’t know if that’s more of a control, or all the countless cups of green tea I had drunk over the evening. Or maybe silence. There was nothing at all, not a sound – not even though there was no sound insulation, the walls were paper.

A night trip to the bathroom felt like an adventure. In the silent nitrogen-empty corridors of Hips, past a room with an altar with golden statues. Light echoed from the windows behind which was a small pond and garden.

 

At six in the morning, the cone erupted again. It invited to the first ceremony of the day, one that visitors could choose if they wished. I walked halfway to a hall whose darkness was broken only by the flames of candles. It smelled of incense that smoked in a black iron pot in front of the altar.

I sat on the floor with a couple of other travelers. In front of the altar, three monks recited sacred texts with a singing, monotonous note, non-stop, for at least half an hour. It was hard to keep my eyes open, it was so reassuring. Finally, we guests were allowed to participate in the statement, with the sentences printed out in the handouts. Then one of the monks turned to us and smiled. “What else would you like to know”?

 

 

WHERE? The Yochi-in Temple is located in Koyasan, about a hundred kilometers south of Osaka. It can be reached by train e.g. From Osaka or Kyoto. The final stop of the train is Gokurakubashi. From there, take a steep hillside by tram to Koyasan Station.

 

WHAT? The village of Koyasan has less than 4,000 inhabitants. It is the center of Japanese shingo Buddhism, with a university focused on religious studies and more than a hundred temples inhabited by monks. The oldest shrines are from the 8th century. At one time only monks were allowed to go to Koyasan, but a hundred years ago the gates were opened to other guests as well.

 

HOW? Temple overnight stays, shukubo, can be tried in many places in Japan, but in Koyasan it is easiest: accommodation is provided by fifty temples accustomed to Japanese and foreign tourists. The night costs 10,000 to 16,000 yen, about 80 to 120 euros per person. Dinner and breakfast are included in the price. Bathrooms and toilets are usually shared, for women and men. The Yochi-in Temple has modern toilets and baths, impeccable cleanliness and air conditioning / heating, making your stay comfortable in summers and winters.

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By Oghale

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