If you ask me as a typical person if a cemetery would fall into my Must-Go places? Most likely one would get a bewildered, big eye look from me, expressing “You Gonna Be Joking ?” Not unless Buffy is my good friend hahah!
But here I am, bring my family exactly to one, not to mention that this is an ancient graveyard, but an enormous one too !!! In Mt. Koya, this graveyard is called Okunoin, wherein lies the mausoleum, the final resting place of Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi), a legendary Shingon Buddhist monk who is believed to have giving aid and comfort to millions of people who prayed to him.
And even in after-death, thousands of grave lines the ancient forest from military commanders to common folks, wishing to receive salvation and his blessings in death.
Along the way into the Okunoin, one could see unique tombs, probably one of the most unique memorial designs that I have seen so far … there are other equally weird like a memorial build for a pesticide company … how weird can it go ?
I didn’t really captured too much photos of this otherwise beautiful environment. The trees were rather tall and shady, making the walk rather yin and cooling in Autumn, and my natural aversion of cemeteries held my fingers from the camera trigger … I didn’t really wanted to catch anything else on the digital photos where it doesn’t belong, though I did take a few photos which gives an imagery of a ancient tombs, worn-off by time, and eerily-beckoning .
Also upon reaching the bridge (Gobyo-bashi) that leads to the inner sanctum of Kobo Dashi, photography is not allowed. Somewhere further up from this bridge there is a Miroku stone (feels more like an iron ball), where it is rumored that the purest of good heart would be able to lift effortlessly with one hand. As I look at others before me trying in vain to lift the ball … well … neither did I managed to lift it well off. It felt really heavy haha … and I would rather not get my hands caught in between the bottom and the ball!
As much as I enjoyed the tranquility of the walk in Okunoin, a part of me was glad to be finally out of the cemetery as well.