In the mountains of Japan, above mist-covered forest, there remain the echoes of powerful ascetics, in legend bestowed with supernatural powers and shrouded in mystery. These are the Yamabushi, the practitioners of Shugendo, a form of esoteric Buddhism that incorporates many elements from Shintoism, Japan’s oldest religion.
ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE SPIRIT
Stay in the historical villa of a Yamabushi-Shugendo monk, who is also a personal friend of mine. Sasayuri-Ann is located in the mountains of Fukano. This is an extraordinary base from which to enjoy Nara and is readily accessible from Osaka. Though there is not much reason to leave the confines of Sasayuri-Ann at all. With exquisite wabi-sabi taste, the villa invites soft reflection and the many trails thereabout often lead to waterfalls, a perfect spot to witness, and participate, in Shugendo water rituals and meditation practices.
The Yamabushi have deep roots in Japanese history. Their millenary practices of nature-worship speak eloquently to our modern imagination and the relationship between body and spirit that many envision for ourselves.
AIRBORNE TO MT KOYA
You can join my Yamabushi friend for a visit of the temple community at Mt Koya. With Bueflower, you can fly from Sasayuri-Ann to the sacred site by helicopter. Once at the temple, you will get an insider’s look at Shugendo, which deep connection to Japanese history and the forested mountain landscape, reflect a tradition of mountain-worship that is extraordinarily well-documented and has continued for more than 1,200 years.