While walking, someone booked me in to sleep at this temple. The cost was steep at 6,000¥ but included dinner and breakfast. It was a place to sleep and something to fill my belly.
I arrived tired and burned from the sun. All I wanted to do is shower and sit. That was the first thing I did. There was a onsan (hot spring) and I sat there for an hour. It felt great. I could barely walk around the temple I was in so much pain from walking 23 km.
Next was a vegan dinner. I met (name to come later) and his wife (name to come later). He was an English officer for immigration now working in the immigration detention center. We talked about education, cultures, our jobs, the challenges we find in our jobs. His wife could not speak English so she just smiled. The talk was great and I learned so much.
After dinner we went to this cave connected to the temple. Inside was this huge golden Buddha along with several smaller ones. The children, who were also staying at the temple, were sitting on the floor. The head monk, dressed in traditional robes, started to chant and everyone did the same. I just sat there and meditated by focusing on my breathing. I don’t know Japanese. We then went into this underground river. We lit a candle and watched it float on the river chanting: Doyo niny (you never walk alone) meaning a spirit is always with you. We then put a wish on a thin piece of wood and walked to a big fire. The wood burdened in an instant. Then back to where we were in the cave and circled the Buddha 8 times while chanting Doyo niny.
Then we walked through the temples and stood near the offerings to Buddha. Finally back to the living area. I sat with my new friend and talked about this experience as he explained what had happened.
It was just an amazing experience.