Mie Wakayama: Mount Koya / Koyasan, Okunoin [Trip Day 4.0] 高野山・奥の院

  Trip itinerary and map

It’s an early start for temple stay (宿坊). At our temple Daien-in (大圓院) the morning religious service (朝の勤行) begins at 5:50 am, lasting for about an hour. It is of course not mandatory and guests can join at any time.

For a casual visitor, one hour is probably overly long; and even with my current level of Japanese I could still barely catch what the monk said (the microphone he used being too quiet was a factor). Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that the service is not done as a “show” for visitors, there are other people (most of the Japanese it seems) attending for the worship. On the other hand, some other temples have services more geared towards foreign visitors, such as keeping it within a short 20 minutes or so as a taster, some ceremony lighting up a fire to provide photo opportunities… it really depends what kind of experience you are looking for.

Okunoin (奥の院)

Having done the night walk yesterday, we went back again in a sunny morning. We took the opposite route this time, starting from the Ichinohashi entrance, then returning to Nakanohashi entrance.

There are quite a few other historical sites in Koyasan on the opposite side of town. But for us it’s time to move on to our next destination in Wakayama.