You came to Japan to get a unique experience, and to see something that you are not going to see easily elsewhere. When you first come to Japan you need to check out Tokyo. The lights of Shinjuku, the electronic shopping arcades of Akihabara, Disneyland (if you have kids in tow), and maybe some of the big temples around Tokyo, like Kamakura.
I don’t know about how you feel, but for me, after three days of crowds and trains and fluorescent lighting in stations I am ready to get out of the big city and see more of the “original Japan”.
We’ve got that in spades here in Kagawa.
Today I want to introduce to you the Zentsuji Temple located here in Kagawa. This is the city where Kukai was born. Kukai, if you do not know, is the father of zen. He is like the Jesus of Buddhism, and revered in much the same manner. Buddhism, prior to Kukai, was highly regimented and rigid. When Kukai grew up, and travelled, went to China and came back, he figured out that enlightenment is not what you are told. Enlightenment is something you can draw forth from yourself. The pilgrimage that goes around Shikoku was created, and Kukai also went to Kyoto as well to work and develop things there. Kukai was not only a zen monk, but he was also an engineer. He ushered in not only a new kind of way to “find yourself” but is also responsible for a lot of practical things (water storage, irrigation etc.) that saved a lot of human life as well. Anyway, let’s check out his hometown!
The grounds are quite spacious so take some time to wander around. You will likely see many groups of pilgrims come through, so hang around and enjoy the sounds of their chanting the Heart Sutra. It may do a weary soul some good.