Tour Price: $4589
Join Dr. Mark Vierra and Reverend Kim Kaiser for a spiritual journey to Japan. Experience daily dharma talks by Reverend Kim, an ex Soto Buddhist monk. We will have a English speaking Japanese guide as we allow the ancient Japanese Buddhist culture to soak into your being as we enjoy 6 nights in the beautiful city of Kyoto where we will visit famous Buddhis temples and Zen Gardens. Our outings from Kyoto are to: Kurama which is best known for its temple Kurama-dera and its hot spring baths, and we will journey by train to the World Heritage site of Nara and visit Todai-ji Temple, which is the largest wooden building in the world. It houses the Great Buddha (Daibutsu). Our final two nights we will travel to the monastic complex of Mount Koya, high in the forested mountains of the Kii Peninsula, south of Osaka. Mt Koya was recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the village contains more than a hundred different temples, many of which offer lodging for pilgrims and visitors allowing you to join the monks in their daily routines. Spirit Tours has been leading tours to Japan with Buddhist experts for 12 years
This spiritual journey is a leap into the beauty, the tradition and the essence of Japanese Buddhism and temple culture. You will discover your own Buddha nature and return home with a renewed vision for compassion and peace in the world.
October 24th Day 1: Transfer – Private – Osaka Airport to Hotel Vehicle/Assistant/Driver. Check into hotel – Evening Free [/p Hotel Kanra Kyoto
October 25th Day 2: We will visit the Higashiyama district, and the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple, with its 11 headed figure of Kannon (Japanese for Kuan Yin). This temple is designated as a world heritage site. Afterwards we will visit Sanjusangendo; Temple was originally built by Taira no Kiyamori for retired emperor Go-Shirakawa in 1164 and dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon. The temple features a huge hall containing 1,001 figures of Kannon carved in the 12th and 13th centuries. Evening Welcome Dinner Together.
October 26th Day 3: Visit the Golden Pavilion Kinkakuji a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will, it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death in 1408. Later, we will contemplate the superb Zen temples of Daitoku-ji and Ryoan-ji, the sites of the famous Zen garden composed only of rocks and sand, meditate upon the serene Ryonanji Zen Garden. Evening Free.
October 27 th Day 4: Local train to Nara, a World Heritage site. Visit Todai-ji Temple, which is the largest wooden building in the world. It houses the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), which is also one of the largest bronze images in the world. There is a beautiful deer park with a great opportunity for feeding deer Afternoon return to Kyoto.
October 28th Day 5: Optional Tour Day. Free to explore Kyoto on your own. Suggested outings include, Inari Shrine, Arashiyama or if you wish on you own visit Bishamondo Shorin-ji is located in a slightly remote area off to the South if you come from the city. It is well-known as one of the temples that actively welcomes tourists (including groups) to their Zazen mediation class. Given their welcoming atmosphere for Zazen beginners, it has become a popular destination for both Japanese and international tourists interested in the experience
October 29th Day 6: Take a local train to the mountain village of Kurama which is tucked away in the hills above Kyoto. Soak in an onset, a natural hot spring bath, one of Japan’s great pleasures. Enjoy a traditional Japanese lunch and visit the famous Kurama-dera Temple, which houses Bishamonten, the protector of the north. Have the opportunity to leave an offering.
October 30th Day 7: Journey by bus to the sacred Mt Koya, known as the world headquarters of the Koyasan Shingon Sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is considered a sacred duty of many Japanese Bhuddhist to make a pilgrimage here, one time in their life. Stay two nights at a Sukubo, a buddhist temple inn. Walk through the ancient graveyard, Okunoin Cemetery, which houses the mausoleum of Kuki, the founder of Shingon Buddhism.
October 31st Day 8: Early morning meditaition with the monks. After breakfast we will tour to Kongobuji Temple the head temple of the Shingon Buddhist Sect. The temple was built in 1593. Afternoon Free to explore Mt. Koya on your own. Evening Dinner Together.
November 1st Day 9: Morning Meditation at the Inn. Return by bus to Osaka for our flight home.
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