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This miraculous 7 day Sacred Mythic Journey reaches to the heights of Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) which is the highest and most sacred mountain in Japan, rising to 12,388 feet. Visible from Tokyo on a clear day, the beautiful cone-shaped mountain is located west of the city, surrounded by lakes in a national park.
Mt. Fuji is named for the Buddhist fire goddess Fuchi and is sacred to the Shinto goddess Sengen-Sama, whose shrine is found at the summit. It is the holiest of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains.” Pilgrims are able to climb to the summit by hiking throughout the night, to witness the sunrise from the summit.
Fuji-san has been regarded as sacred mountain for virtually as long as humans have lived nearby. It was originally a sacred mountain of the Ainu, the aboriginal inhabitants of Japan. For Shintoists (modern followers of the native religion), Mt. Fuji is sacred to the goddess Sengen-Sama and an embodiment of the very spirit of nature. The Fujiko sect goes even father, believing the mountain itself is a sacred being with a soul. Although especially important to Shintoists, Fuji is also sacred to Japanese Buddhists, who revere the mountain is a gateway to another world.
The kijimunaa (or bungaya) is one of the most famous of Okinawa’s magical creatures. The kijimunaa is described as a sprite (Japanese yosei), that resembles a short young boy and with bright red hair, said to look like a troll doll. Some say that only children or the pure of heart can see the kijimunaa. They may or may not be seen accompanied by fire. They live in the tops of Okinawa’s gajumaru (ガジュマル, or banyan) trees; they are especially famous in the Yomitan area, where their images can be seen in many places. Kijimunaa are known for playing harmless pranks. Kijimunaa can also be helpful, but they are quick to change their minds. They enjoy fishing and eating fish. The only thing they fear is the octopus. Belief in kijimunaa is representative of the spiritual power of trees in the Ryukyu belief system.
Okinawa’s unique people, deep history, diverse culture and political leanings are just parts of what make a visit this island memorable. Its nearby tropical islands offer a welcome respite for travelers eager to escape the stresses of daily life, and iconic structures like Shuri Castle and Nakijin Castle provide a window to a centuries-old past. .
Residents of the Okinawa Islands are known to live longer than anywhere else in the world. There are around 35 centenarians for every 100,000 inhabitants here, five times more than the rest of Japan – a country already noted for the long life expectancy of its citizens. According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, the Japanese live to 83.7 years, on average. Explanations have included diet (low-fat, low-salt foods, such as fish, tofu and seaweed are popular here), low-stress lifestyle, and the spirituality of the inhabitants.
At Jigokudani Monkey Park, hundreds of monkeys descend from the steep cliffs and forest to sit in the warm waters of the “onsen,” or hot springs, much like their human counterparts in this area. This ritual, plus the amazing slopes nearby, make winter the prime time to visit the park.
The small island of Okunoshima, in the Inland Sea of Japan, is the home of hundreds of rabbits. They have become the most curious creatures unafraid of anyone that comes to visit them. A mere crinkle of a bag of rabbit food will create a bunny stampede heading in your direction. They will hop in your lap, climb on your arms, or totally cover you in bunny love if you let them.
Nara Deer Park is home to over 1,200 free-roaming sika deer. Local mythology says that a deity named Takemikazuchi arrived at the old capital of Japan on a white deer to act as its protector. This leads to the wild deer here now being considered national treasures and have laws that protect them as such. You can find them in the woods, by the temples, or wherever there’s food as these deer do as they please.
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