There’s something interesting about exploring the religious beliefs in each city or region that you visit because it not only allows you to have a peek into the past, it also lets you appreciate how far we’ve come come as people and how ultimately, our current worries are so small in the big scheme of things.
After our exploration of Kitsuki (杵築市), we had a bit of free time for the day so we decided to find somewhere else to explore and a quick Google search brought us to: Kumano Magaibutsu, which is home to a group of Buddha statues.
The ticket is 200 yen per person, and the friendly receptionist at the bottom of the hill gestured (because we can’t speak Japanese) to also grab a walking stick. Looking up the hill it looked pretty easy to walk, but we took one none the less.
With the stick hire, you also get a pamphlet giving you an history and story behind how the Buddhas in the cliffs were formed.
First thing that struck me was how tranquil the location is, with barely anyone there and plenty of flora, you can experience the large amount of untainted oxygen in the air, a luxury for someone who works and lives in Hong Kong where you sometimes feel there’s more pollution than oxygen in the air.
On the way up the defined stairs (you’ll know why I called it that in a moment), there were little monuments and bits and pieces that were quite interesting.
At the end of the stairs (which were already quite a climb), we reached a set of gates where the story has it that the giant god creature walked up one evening to build the Buddhas in the cliff, and that was why the “steps” were so disorganised. It is also at this point which we were incredibly grateful that Ms Buddha and I both grabbed a walking stick; as the path became incredibly slippery and steep.
There are 2 viewing spots on this path, one is a “rest stop” of sorts which is where the Buddha stands, it’s about 3/4 of the way to up the hill and is quite impressive size-wise and definitely an relief to see after climbing the hill.
As a reference for size, here’s a photo of Ms Buddha standing close to Buddha 1.
After a bit of a rest, we decided to continue our journey to the top, which took about another 10mins. Once you arrive up top, there’s a large temple along with some of the small Buddhas that accompanies it.
In my opinion, hiking up hills is a bit like life, climbing up and ascending is tough work, it really is, but even when it is tough, I still prefer it compared to falling or going down a hill. Going down take patience and vigilance in order to make sure you survive, and that is a bit like life where when things aren’t going smooth or against your wishes, those are the moments where you have to be cautious and make sure you end up surviving the ordeal.
There’s also something a little odd about Kumano Magaibutsu in that next to the entrance of the hill up, there’s another temple that seems to be dedicated to people who wants to pray for just outright wealth!
We explored a bit around the temple grounds (because there was an entry fee for entry into the temple and “money” wasn’t something we believe is a thing worth praying for). But what was interesting was that every one of the Buddha had little silvers pasted on them for fortune!