I’ve been offline for a couple of days. R and I took a long train ride (followed by a cable car ride) to Koyasan from Kyoto. We stayed at two temples, Muryoko-in and Eko-in, with guest accommodations. Neither of those had net access (a temple without net access? My word!).
In the morning at about 6:00 AM, each temple had their daily chant service and a goma ceremony. Goma is the fire ritual practiced by both the Shingon and Tendai traditions of Buddhism. Koyasan is the holy mountain within Shingon and home to the head monastery and holy sites for it. (No pictures of goma as it is both disallowed and a bit rude…)
On the first morning, a friend of a friend from nearby Hashimoto took us around. She happened to be a Koyasan tour guide and she took R and I through the major sites in the course of the day.
One of the most well known is Okunoin, the cemetery where Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon, is said to rest in eternal meditation. This is a stretch of cemetery more than a kilometer long through the woods with monuments everywhere. During the course of this, we visited the resting place of Kobo Daishi, as well as some of the other buildings in that complex.
We also went to the Garan, the sacred precinct of Shingon, and visited Kongobu-ji Temple, the chief temple. There are some amazing buildings there, as well as art, gardens, and just a wonderful general atmosphere.