posted on Friday, September 21, 2007

Barking Dog Mountain!

While in Osaka I decided to escape the heat and head to the mountains. The goal was to combine a temple visit with a soak in a local onsen.
From Izumisano I then took a local bus to Inunakisan (犬鳴山) Barking Dog Mountain! After 20 minutes we were out of the urban area and after half an hour winding up a mountain road scattered with little villages and farms the bus reached its terminal stop, Inunakisan. I then started the 45 minutes walk to Shippouryu-ji, a temple of the Shugendo sect, a 1300 years old tradition combining elements of Buddhism, Shintoism and Taoism. All along the path one was reminded of that by the multitude of shrines, statues and altars displayed. The river bordering the path got steeper giving way to waterfalls and little pools of crystal clear water. A red Gate announced the entrance to the compound of the temple and as I approached I could hear sutras being chanted; luckily as i got inside I was allowed to assist at the ceremony where a priest and a monk were chanting in the shrine while kindling a fire with sticks inscripted with prayers. Through the temple then I reached the waterfall where adepts take part in rituals of purification consisting of sitting under the falling water.     more pictures here...