Bon is one of Japanese Buddhist custom as I mentioned in this article☞★.
Many Japanese companies close for summer vacation during Bon period (around Aug. 13 to Aug. 16), and it's sometimes called "Bon Yasumi(holiday)", though it has never been a public or legal holiday. People usually go visit their family grave to clean it and pray for their ancestors.
Like many other Japanese people, my husband got his summer break during this Bon period and so I took days off too.
We went back to our hometown Wakayama on Aug. 13th, and set 14th aside for visiting graves.
There were 4 places to visit.
3 grave yards in Wakayama city and one in Koyasan.
Went through those in Wakayama city first in the morning and then headed for Koyasan.
Drove around narrow and long winding road and finally arrived in Koyasan.
If you want to drive up to Koyasan, you better chose a compact car or bigger one. Don't even think about a mini-vehicle. Otherwise it will be a tough driving.
(Mine was 1200cc Fiat500 Sport and still had a really hard time...)
Anyway, we made it.
Then visit my husband's uncle's grave.
His uncle and aunt has no kids and they gave him lots of love. He was glad to come up to uncle's grave this year.
Koyasan is an inclusive term for 8 peaks and a basin-shaped valley enclosed by those peaks which shapes a holy city of Shingon Buddhism, and it is now registered as one of World Heritage site.
So there're so many places of interest and we decided to visit Okunoin, which is
So crowded with large turnout. Some came for their ancestors like us and some were tourists from other part of Japan or other countries.
Some people from foreign countries asked me for my photos. I guess Kimono looked very special to them.
There are many companies' memorial monument for their deceased alongside of the approach.
Among those symbolical monuments, found very unique one.
The memorial monument for termit built by the Japan Termite Control Association.
They not only exterminate termites but pray for them at the same time.
There are graves and memorial monuments of feudal warlords too, such as Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and so on.
Walked through those graves and finally arrived at Okunoin.
First we entered Torodo where there were thousands of lantern offered by believers that always lit. We were all surrounded by quiet air and great peace.
Behind the Torodo, the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi was there.
"He entered deep meditation in order to save people through eternity and he remains at this site ever praying for people's salvation" (quoted from Koyasan's website).
We offered incense stick and lit a candle there and left Koyasan with much of refreshed feeling.
There are so many interesting sites to see in Koyasan other than Okunoin, and I really want to visit other sites and temples sometimes.