Japan day 13


Woke up after the first night in Daimo-in temple:

It started with voluntary prayer in the morning at 07, and those who prayed received lucky charm. Here only a few of us participated, as most needed a bit more sleep.

It didn't help much in terms of sleep, when the monks started switching on various devices and chanting prayers with the thin walls of the temple. So a bit of a pity for those who actually slept. But it was nice to join in the prayer. The monks sang and we got the song (prayer) on paper, so that we could join in singing, which we actually tried. Gradually we were called forward one by one. Then we would sit down on our knees, bow, then take sand from one jar and put it in the other three times, before bowing again. The three times stood for family, Budda and himself. The monk sang the prayers along the way, before and after.

When the ceremony was over, those of us who had attended morning prayer each received a lucky charm, which was supposed to protect us on our journey. It was a special experience that was worth taking part in.

After morning prayer we had breakfast.

Vegan today too. This is what the monks usually eat in the temple. Quite similar to yesterday's dinner but somewhat smaller. Some were good and some were not, but tasted everything of course.

Visit Garan temple, and 7/11 (grocery store).

Legend has it that Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, threw his sankosho (a double-ended, triangular Buddhist ceremonial tool) from China, where he had studied, towards Japan. Back in Japan, while searching for a place to headquarters his new religion, he came across his sankosho stuck in the branches of a pine tree at Koyasan and began the construction of Garan, Koyasan's central temple complex. The pine tree, which trapped the sankosho, still grows there.

The two most prominent buildings in Garan are Kondo Hall and the huge Konpon Daito Pagoda. The Kondo Hall is a large wooden temple hall where large ceremonies are held. The building has burned down several times over the centuries, and the current hall dates back to 1932. It has an image of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Medicine and Healing.

Adjacent to Kondo Hall is the vermilion Konpon Daito Pagoda, a 45-meter-tall, two-story Tahoto-style pagoda. A statue of Dainichi Nyorai (Cosmic Buddha, also known as Variocana), the central Buddha of Shingon Buddhism, stands in the middle of the pagoda's interior and is surrounded by statues and paintings on pillars, which together form a rare three-dimensional mandala (a metaphysical map across the cosmos). Mandalas are usually two-dimensional paintings.

Kobo Daishi began building Kondo Hall and Daito Pagoda, but he was unable to complete them himself. His successors completed the construction of the two main structures and also expanded the grounds of Garan with several additional halls and pagodas over time. Among these are Toto (East Pagoda), Saito (West Pagoda), Miedo (Founder's Hall) and the Koya Myojin Shrine, which enshrines Koya's local kami (Shinto deities). (japan-guide.com) https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4902/.html 

There were a number of red, fine buildings with beautiful nature around. We went together as a group first before spreading out around. Finally I walked around alone and looked, it was a bit nice today. When I felt I was done, I went to 7/11 (grocery store) to buy some food and a little treat for later.

Then I went back to the temple to get my luggage, before we went on to the next place.

On the way there, there were 7 different means of transport, bus, train, cable car, train, bus, etc. I got so motion sickness and nauseated, even though I had taken motion sickness tablets.

When we first arrived at the hotel, we were already late for what we were supposed to do, so we only had time to ease the suitcase into the room and go to the bathroom before we had to leave.

The hotel is called:

Hotel Kuretakeso Hiroshima Otemachi. A great hotel. Large room with bathroom and shower, good beds. There was also a TV there.

We rushed out and to our local guide in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park who shoed  us around there. Incredibly nice person and a good guide. We started at the Atomic Dome. Peace Bell. Eternal flame.

A little about Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park (平和記念公園, Heiwa Kinen Kōen)

One of the most prominent features of the city. Even visitors who aren't looking for it are likely to stumble upon the large park of over 120,000 square meters. The trees, lawns and footpaths stand in stark contrast to the surrounding downtown area.

Before the bomb, the area of what is now Peace memorial park  was the political and commercial heart of the city. For this reason, it was chosen as the pilot's target. Four years to the day after the bomb was dropped, it was decided that the area would not be rebuilt, but instead dedicated to a peace memorial.

Atomic bomb dome (A-Bomb Dome)

Also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, it is what remains of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. The building served as a place to promote Hiroshima's industries. When the bomb exploded it was one of the few buildings left standing, and still is today. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the A-Bomb Dome is a tangible link to Hiroshima's unique past.

Between the museum and the A-Bomb Dome is the Cenotaph for A-Bomb Victims. The Cenotaph is an arched tomb for those who died as a result of the bomb, either from the initial blast or exposure to radiation. Under the arch is a stone chest containing a register of these names, of which there are over 220,000. Every year on the anniversary of the bomb, a ceremony is held in the park. Speeches are made, wreaths are laid at the Cenotaph, and a moment of silence is observed at 8.15, the exact moment of the detonation. Other activities take place throughout the day, and many staff are employed to assist foreign visitors. https://www.japan-guide.com/e/3400 


The park's main facility is the Peace Memorial Museum. The museum consists of two buildings and charts the history of Hiroshima and the advent of the atomic bomb. The main focus, however, is on the events of August 6: the dropping of the bomb and its resulting human suffering. The personal information displayed is quite upsetting and serves as a reminder that we should not take peace for granted.

The museum is about Hiroshima's past

Here they show pictures of children and adults who have died, how they died and the clothes they wore. Here I was still motion sick so went through a bit quickly, when I was all the way through the first floor I sat down on a bench. Feeling sick and tired, the motion sickness still hadn't gone away, so I called it quits and went back to the hotel. "Foamed" quickly through all three floors. The story was, of course, interesting, sad and exciting, but my body couldn't handle everything today. If I had felt a little better, I would of course have tried to take everything with me, but it is not always like that.

After the museum, we were going to have dinner with the whole group at Hondori Street, but I still felt bad so I stayed at the hotel. But I had a wonderful roommate, who bought me dinner. Hamburger, fries and some pancakes for me, it was very kind and cosy. Got me a little later.

All in all, a somewhat mixed day, stressful, nauseating, tiring but a wonderful and exciting day. Been with the monks at prayer, visited various temples, changed hotels, visited Hiroshima memorial park and learned about what actually happened. Got sick, got food, and relaxed.