Japan: Samurai and sushi?
As I was taking the plane to Tokyo, back in August 2015, I did not have a clue about how many stunning experiences I was going to have. Samurai, sushi, a pacific island with a lot of volcanoes… that’s all I used to know about Japan. I was excited to learn new things and to immerse myself in the culture of Japan that these merely physical things overlooked. But my excitement of the vitality of the big crowds in the city quickly faded and left a longing for air, freedom and space. As the pressing feeling in my chest in the stuffy washroom of Kyoto was getting heavier, I decided to grab my backpack and leave the city.
Atago-yama – On the top of Kyoto
The bus brought me to the foot of the Atago-yama, the highest mountain of Kyoto. The long hike to the summit began at the edge of a small valley, and the village there slowly became smaller until I disappeared among the trees. I was in a bit of a trance and I didn’t notice the time passing as I walked through the sweltering forest on the old path of Atago.
I didn’t notice the time passing as I walked through the sweltering forest on the old path of Atago.
I passed trees, which transformed the trail into a huge columnar hall, marking the edge of my way, and triumphant travelers who were already descending the Atago-yama. I gave my body a little rest as a man stopped directly in front of me. He might have been twice my age and was carrying the type of backpack I would take on a two week hike in the Alps. He looked at me and, in broken English, generously asked if I would like to have some of his water. This is exactly the kind of moment on which I am basing my conviction, force and inspiration.
My spiritual moment
Suddenly I was standing before the last part of my little journey: a long line of stairs. Crooked and covered with moss, they ascend to the summit of Atago-yama where the monastery stands. When I finally arrived at the summit, I felt a deep connection to the place, to the forest.
I felt a deep connection to the place. to the forest.
There are a lot of things that the people who know me could say about me, but that I am religious is definitely not one of them. But I felt Japan with every single breath that I exhaled, with every step that I took and with every moment that I could spend in that beautiful country. These things are the reason why I finally must admit that there is something enormous that I can feel around me but I simply can’t describe.
If you also did experiences like this and you want share it with me, I am really excited to read from you!!
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Another country that touched my heart is Iceland. Read more about my experience here.