day 92: make-up buddhas

17Koya San lies up in the mountains of the Kii peninsula surrounded by thick cedar forests. The air is fresher than down in the valley and the cedars give the surrounding a smell of earth and nature. Up here live 4000 people, mostly monchs running different temples. Visitors can sleep there. So the places are more like temple-hotels, it´s commercialised. Still there is a beautiful feeling about Koya San. It´s calm and cool. It feels different than the rest of the country.

When you walk into the cedar woods you get to a graveyard of 200.000 graves. I´m not the biggest fan of graveyards, but this place is beautiful. The grey stones have become one with nature. The huge old cedars give shadow to the graves and to the many, many little buddhas people put in the cementary. In this old, grey place with all the moss on the stone and the Buddhas, people take care of the little Buddhas: they dress them, put make up on them or leave some money. People knit caps and capes for them so they don´t get cold when the snowy winter comes. They put bibs around some of them. It´s to ask for protection for the children and to remenber the children, that died.

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About Michaela Krimmer

35, anthropologist, Austrian, female

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