The most notable part of our stay on Mt. Koya was that we were actually staying in a monastery with a group of monks.

It was a beautifully, traditional complex – with a couple temples and shrines interlaced with traditional rooms where visitors were allowed to stay.

And every morning (around 6:30am), guests were invited to take part in the monks’ daily prayer ceremony – sit with them, meditate with them, pray with them.

The room was alive with the smell of incense, the incantations of the head monk rang loud throughout the temple.

Sadly, photography was not permitted during the ceremony – and therefore, I have nothing to show for it.

However, we did visit Okunoin (the largest cemetery in Japan) – the site is lit by lines and lines of lanterns while a rich variety of headstones run deep into the mountain.

Below, are a few shots from the visit, hopefully conveying the spiritual importance and essence of Mt. Koya and Okunoin.

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Ryan Cheng is the founder of The 88, and is passionate about telling stories surrounding travel, culture and identity.

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16 thoughts on “Monk mountain

    1. Thank you very much Jane! I’m still getting some film developed from this series in particular – so hoping they’ve turned out okay!

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