Ekoin Temple

Japan - Koyasan - Ekoin Temple

We woke up at 6am to make the 6:30am daily ceremony in the main hall of the temple, where a monk performed the daily ceremony including chanting, clashing cymbals and burning incense. There were about 20 or 30 of us sitting on the floor, watching and listening to the ceremony for about half an hour, before it was time to leave, put our shoes back on and walk through the rain to the Fire Temple. There, we sat in rows on either side of the monk, watching him carefully build a fire out of kindling and small pieces of wood that visitors wrote wishes on, including Rowan.

The monk burned them, building the fire at least a metre high, feeding it with sacred oils and incense, all of us watching with rapt attention, while a second monk chanted, struck a drum and other instruments as the fire intensified. When his chanting died down, so did the fire and we waited until the ceremony was finished before getting up, sweeping some of the smoke over our faces and heads, and then bowing and saying a prayer to each of three statues of the Buddha behind the fire.

Japan - Koyasan - Okunoin Cemetery - Wooden sotoba
Unfortunately photos were not possible during the ceremonies. Here is a photo of wooden sotoba from the Okunoin Cemetery.

After putting our shoes on and walking for about a minute back to our room, our breakfast of tofu, fruit, seaweed crisps, rice and tea was waiting for us in lots of little dishes on raised trays, just like dinner the previous night.

The food at Ekoin was memorable for how delicate and fine, clean and simple, each dish was and how grateful we were to the monks who prepared and served it, and cleaned up afterward.

2 Responses to “Ekoin Temple”

  1. The ceremonies were mesmerizing, an absolute dream. And the temple stays we’re Rowan’s favourite part about the trip!

    His wish was for “a happy life”.

    Coolest. Kid. Ever.

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