TRIPals

Experience Japan like a local

Shhh! It’s a Shrine! 3 Temples to go to for your Eat, Pray, Love Moment

You’ve read the book. You’ve seen Julia Roberts’ gorgeous mug in the movie. We’ve all wanted it. That Eat, Pray, Love moment. It may not be at all the reality you expect it to be when you get there, but if you are going to go for it in Japan, you better believe you need to know what shrines to visit to find your spiritual balance.

I personally prefer to go to the hidden ones around cemeteries. For some reason, they seem more peaceful to me. I like to see the mini “shrines” that represent gravestones for loved ones to visit when someone passes away. I like that people bring whatever that person’s favorite drink is and place it on their burial site. It interests me to see what people enjoyed during their existence in this past lifetime. My favorite one I’ve seen included a daughter leaving her father a hot thermos of tea and a biscuit. That is beauty to me.

These are a few of my favorites spiritual spots to hit up in Japan:

Sensoji Temple

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This is not one of the quieter spots I mentioned above. Sensoji Temple is the capitals’s oldest temple and is very much vibrant and alive in atmosphere. What I enjoy most about this temple is going through the vendors that sell the touristy items and seeing the energy that happens around this beautiful spot. While the Temple has obviously been renovated, I think that in itself it represents a beautiful idea of evolution. Past and Present creating an innovative idea of what spirituality is. It’s lovely to see the bustling energy of hustling trinkets outside of a temple. It feels like a Renaissance festival that should never end.

Todaiji Temple

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Home to the one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha in Japan, located in Nara, Todaiji Temple has a lot to offer. This temple is also the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism. I personally find this to be the most interesting thing about this temple. I also enjoy feeding the deer that have a tendency to visit the temple, and you can buy treats for them at the temple too. I’ve always been a sucker for those doe eyes.

Myoruji Temple

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Now this is my kind of temple. It’s almost like visiting a haunted house. Secret chambers, trick doors, and hidden stairways. Located in Kanazawa, this temple is a bit off the beaten path, but fun to venture to. There are some great little restaurants nearby that would be worth traveling to go to even if the temple wasn’t there.

That being said, enjoy your sacred time in the temples. Find your inner balance. Be grateful. Be you. And for God’s sake, thank Elizabeth Gilbert for giving you the courage to have your Eat, Pray, Love moment. And enjoy the restaurants afterwards for me.

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