8 Spiritual Japanese Experiences to Seek out on Your Trip

Young traveler taking photo of Sensoji temple in asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

You can’t force enlightenment.

A student goes to his Zen master and asks, “how long will it take me to master Buddhism?” The master replies, “ten years.” Impatiently, the student argued, “but what if I want to master it faster? I’ll force myself to work extra hard, how long will it take then?” The Zen master paused before answering, “20 years.”

True spiritual enlightenment isn’t something you can make happen on your own time. Instead, it’s something you invite into your life. One way to do this is by taking a trip to participate in spiritual Japanese experiences.

Every year almost 20 million tourists find their way to Japan. If you’re thinking about being one of them, you’ll need to learn about the best-sacred places that are open to the public. Read on to learn about the top spiritual experiences Japan has to offer.

  1. Kouunji Japanese Experiences

As you look at the Kouunji temple, the first thing you might notice is the modern style. Yet, even then the temples architecture is recent, there is a rich history for this Zazen school.

At the Kouunji temple, they practice a meditative discipline called Zazen. The spiritual practice is a Zen Buddhist tradition, and they’re always willing to welcome newcomers.

Even if you don’t know anything about Zazen, you’re welcome to practice for free. The temple regularly hosts free introductory lessons every week. You’ll be able to dive right into a very important part of cultural Japanese experiences.

  1. Beppu in Kyusu Island

Relax, and find inner peace by soaking in the hot springs at Beppu in Kyusu Island. In and around the city you can find a variety of hot spring and geysers. The hilly town is a popular hot spot for families, friends, and coworkers who are looking to escape the hectic city life.

You can learn about Beppu tour opportunities if you travel with Wheel & Anchor. The area of Beppu is very sacred and can do wonders for both the body and spirit. Expect to have to book your trip ahead of time. Since Beppu has such a great reputation for being a spiritual place, the area’s flooded with visitors every year.

  1. Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Admission is free at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. People go to the Shrine to worship the Inari god that blesses bountiful crops.

Once there, you’ll see red torii gates, and white foxes, that serve as the symbols of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The red colors of the gates represent the bountifulness of the Inari God, while the foxes symbolize God’s servants.

As you explore the grounds of the shrine, you’ll quickly realize how vast they are. It’s easy to get lost, so we suggest visiting the Shrine during daylight hours.

You can spend all day walking around and seeing the different sights the sanctuary has to offer. When you’re at the mountain’s peak at the crossroad Yotsutsuji, you can see the entire city of Kyoto!

  1. Saya No Yudokoro

Another water-related spiritual experience exists in Saya no Yudokoro. Hot spring bathing is one of the most marvelous things that Japan has to offer.

Enjoying the centuries-old tradition of bathing outdoors can be the best way to free your spirit. You can expect to share your experience with other individuals if you’re in the community area.

At the hot bath location, you’ll also be able to enjoy other spa-like services. In Saya no Yudokor you’ll find saunas, aromatherapies, and massages.

  1. Ise Jingu Geku in Mie

If you only have time to go to one shrine in Japan, make it the Ise Jingu. Within this one fantastic shrine exists 2 separate shrines.

You can explore the Naiku shrine that honors Amaterasu-omikama, the guardian God of the Japanse people. Or you can explore the Geku shrine, that honors the God that protects the necessities of life.

You’re welcome to explore the shrines in any order you want. However, if you want to follow Japanese customs, you should begin at Geku and end with Naiku.

  1. Takachiho in Miyazaki Prefecture

If you want to go to a place that’s the true source of a myth, Takachiho is the right stop. Here, you’ll see the place where rumor has it the mother goddess, Amaterasu came to herself.

The myth is that Amaterasu came down to earth from the Yamato Kingdom. Whether or not the myth’s true, there’s something mystical about this location. You can enjoy row boating in a deep gorge, surrounded by sheer cliff walls.

  1. Sanctuary Cape in Ishikawa Prefecture

The Sanctuary Cape is in the far eastern point of Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Peninsula. The area offers a breathtaking view at the top of rocky cliffs, with crashing waves below.

You can walk down a steep narrow path to enter into a sea cave. Locals believe that inside the cave there’s a source of power that provides life to the Sanctuary. When you are inside the cave, you can look out, and stare at the striking blue water.

  1. Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya

One of the oldest shrines in Japan is the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya. This shrine has torn down and rebuilt a handful of times over the years.

Yet, visitors claim a certain spiritual presence has remained constant. There’s intense positive energy you can feel, the moment you set foot inside the shrine.

How to Choose Your Places

Finding spiritual Japanese experiences can be exciting. Yet, chances are, you won’t have the time, or the travel budget to go to every place you find. Instead of worrying about missing out, we suggest you place your focus on finding the places that resonate with you the most.

Look at photos, read reviews, and talk to any friends who’ve traveled to the locations. The more you know about a potential travel location, the better you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Plus, when you research a location thoroughly, you can learn the best times to plan your visit. Want to learn more vacation tips and tricks? Check out our Travel section today!

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