search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
JAPAN


faced my first Japanese onsen experience. But sure enough, 20 minutes later I had disrobed and was submerged in a hot spring with dozens of flesh-baring strangers.


‘N


This was just one of the many things I thought I would never do in my lifetime, but on a wellness trip to Japan, I ticked many things off that list. My journey began in Japan’s third- largest city, Osaka, which lies slap-bang in the middle of Honshu,the biggest of the nation’s 6,852 islands. It’s here that we met our guide


Keiko Hirose, who was dressed head to toe in Issey Miyake, Japan’s most successful fashion designer. “You,” she said to me, “will find yourself in the next five days”. I didn’t know I was lost.


FINDING MYSELF


To find my lost self we headed to Mount Koya, an hour-and-a-half south of Osaka. The area is home to Shingon Buddhism, founded by Japan’s most famous Buddhist Kobo Daishi, and the immensely spiritual Garan temple complex.


It was Daishi who began building the Kondo Hall and Daito Pagoda – although he died in 835AD before both were complete. Fortunately, others stepped into the breach and finished the job. These are just two of the magnificent shrines here that Buddhists visit to pay their respects by cleansing their hands,


46 — aspire september 2017


clapping, wishing and praying. Another unusual ritual for pilgrims is to stand coins on their edges and leave them. So of course, I embraced all aspects of Buddhist traditions. When in Rome, or in my case, Japan.


Following my first cleansing session at the Garan, I embraced the Japanese love of zen with 40 minutes of ajikan meditation at Kongobuji Temple. The temple is ordinarily closed to the public, but can be booked in advance (koyasan.or.jp/en). The meditation began and as I sat cross-legged breathing deeply, I was swiftly transported away from my hectic London life into complete tranquillity.


This baptism to cleanliness left me feeling hungry, so it was just as well that the Shingon Buddhist monks had prepared a five-course shojin ryori (vegan) meal. Harmoniously presented with seasonal


aked? Me? In public? Sorry, but that’s never going to happen.’ This was my reaction when I


‘You will find yourself in the next five days’, she said. I didn’t know I was lost


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104