South of Osaka, an experience of varied and immense impact beckons. Enjoy:
• One night stay in an historic temple;
• dressing up in traditional samurai garb;
• traditional swordplay instruction and practice;
• instruction in Zen meditation;
• three traditional Japanese meals;
• the grand nature of the area.
Your grand experience beings at 9:30am, when you will be greeted in Sennan City, at Izumi Sunagawa Station. First on the agenda is a trip to our samurai master's temple, Chokeiji, where we will meet with the monastery's head monk. Following this, we head to the samurai wing of the monastery, don samurai clothing and really start getting in the mood for training. At this point, you will not only have the opportunity to wear authentic samurai apparel, but also gain a thorough understanding of the production and purpose of each item the samurai wore.
At around 11:30am, you’ll be given escorted about Toyomi Temple. Here you’ll be shown the daily practices and rituals of the monks living at the temple and garner a deeper understanding of Japanese Buddhist practice. At noon we drive up the mountain about 20 minutes for lunch at an Edo era village. Lunch is a hands-on affair, and we make soba noodles from scratch. We’ll also learn about Bushido, which is the way of the warrior.
Still at the village, we indulge in another important facet of life here, that of Zen and meditation study. It is using this methodology that clarity of the mind can be achieved, opening up channels to greater attainment. Having elevated ourselves to the appropriate mental state, it’s time to focus on samurai warrior sword techniques with a professionally led practice session. You’ll hold genuine, expertly crafted samurai swords, learn about how they are made and what their importance to the samurai warrior was.
Back at the temple, we’ll have a filling and varied “nabe” (Japanese hot pot) meal, the same one that samurais ate from over 400 years ago as they prepared for an upcoming battle. After dinner, you’ll have some free time to shower and then relax how you wish. Lights out is at 10pm.
Day 2 starts with great anticipation and a 5:20am jump start on clarity and excellence. After some time to get ready, you’ll attend 6am morning prayers with the monks and then move on to the preparation and enjoyment of breakfast from 6:30am. From there, we head out to look at another, nearby temple of great importance. This is where Tokugawa hid out with his samurais back in his days of conquest.
Lest you lose the progress you made yesterday, we have another Zen meditation session and then a little test to see what you’ve learned. Finally, there’s an exciting bamboo cutting show as demonstrated by a master swordsman, after which we prepare our rooms for departure and head to the train station. The tour ends at Sunagawa Station sometime between 11:30am and noon.