We encountered layers upon layers of history and religious tradition, and began to contextualize the very long walk we were about to undertake. This is Okunoin Cemetery in Koyasan, the largest graveyard in Japan. Paths of mossy stones and bridges pass hundreds of thousands of monuments to the deceased and lead to Okunoin, the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the monk who brought Buddhism to Japan. Each tier from these five-tier stupa represents one of the five elements of the esoteric Buddhist theory of cosmic order of the universe: earth, water, fire, air, space. The entire tower together represents consciousness.
Kumano Kodo, Japan: