So here comes the post about actual Living mummies and geishas & Maiko in Sakata , Yamagata Prefecture !
As soon as i arrived in Sakata i was looking for mummies , i had map in English , but i still could not figure out location .. Asked stranger and got to the temple in few minutes . Its not a main temple where mummies are located . When you place temple , there is other building on left with windows and bell ..
Thats the one .. Ring bell and lady will come to meet you !
Charge is 400 Yen and it lasts about 10 minutes , but if you feel like staying extra and chilling there ..No problem ,lady will just leave you alone with mummies and chill !
So whats up with there living mummies ??! ? Over 250 years old !
Term mummy (Miira ) usually refers to a corpse that remains intact after death,
They are in Kaikoji temple .
These mummies comes from mountain ascetics.
Kaikoji temple belongs to the Shingon school of Japanese Buddhism .
In the museum there are 2 corpses . These corpses are believed to be Buddhas in their real bodies . (It looks incredible .. Their skin is still there and it does not feel human anymore ., but it have a certain vibe about it , maybe the facts that its displayed on the sacred ground and people are praying to them is the certain vibe )
Durring EDO Perriod (1600-1868 ) these to ascetics were abbots of this temple .The flesh icons of Kaikoji are sitting upright ,
in the lotus position (Cross- legged , with each other foot a top the opposite thigh ) In modern -day Japan there are only sixteen flesh – icons in a seated position .(Very rare ).
Person on the left is Vulnerable Chukai .
( First abbot after the restoration of Kaikoji .He died in 1755 (58 years old ) He was born in city of Tsuruoka . He was a soldier until he become Mt. Yudono ascetic.
Person on the right is Vulnerable Enmyokai
Discipline of Chukai (Person on the left ) .He become 9th abbot of Kaikoji .Born in pleasant family n village Shonai .Died age 55 years old.
At age of 50`s they both decided to go to Mount Yudono(sacred mountain “Should not speak or inquire ” .To practice ascetics for becoming flesh icon .
Because of Japan climate corpses would disolve very fast , so ascetics follow special diet to keep flesh from dissolving . Diet would be starvation like , they would eat things like grains , beans , millet to make body as close as possible with only flesh and bone .Its said that Vulnerable chukai follow this diet for 8 years and Vulnerable Enmyokai for 5 .If ascetic died during this process it was considered a failure .
When ascetics reached limits and final stage of process they had to move on to next stage – be put under ground – ” Suspended animation under ground ” (Dochu nyujo ) .Place would be about 3 meters under ground , ascetics would enter and stay lotus position while fasting and reciting sacred scriptures .Bamboo pole would provide air .
When it seemed that that the ascetic had ceased chanting (They have died )they would remove bamboo , open cell and check the posture of the corpse .Then they would put corpse back and seal this special sepulcher fr 3 thousand days (Just over 8 years ).At the end of this time they would take corpse out and it would look as it looks now !
Many ask if mummies displayed in Kaikoji in Sakata are real .. Answer is YEs – they are . Skin have been covered in resin and its kept under protective glass to preserve it .
!!!!! Clothing of flesh icons ( these monks ) are changed every 12 years , during the year of OX .The old clothing is cut into small peaces and inserted in little protective talismans (Omamori ) . Then they are sold to pilgrims and visitors to the temple .
It is said that flesh icon have the power to answer prayers ! When you express your desire to the flesh-icon , you monologue will transform into dialogue with the ascetic.
Geisha & Maiko House :
I decided that once im in Japan i mst visit thi place , so i did . over all its a beautiful building . Entranbce to the show is 1000 yen . You receive 3 dances (2 geisha’s dancing and lady singing and playing traditional instrument ) and after can take a photo with Geisha ! They dont let you explore building or take pictures during the show .
They offer ather activities too . Can have tea party too! Can pay cash or Pasmo , Suica card , maybe some other ways , but im not sure .
Then i was finished with touring in Sakata .
On the way back i met very interesting family . Mom – Emiko was dentist , Juiko (daughter ) was artists , Aiko 2nd daughter was working in Banking . Our conversation was on paper a lot . But they spoke ENglish !
Lovely fzmily , brought me very far distance .
Thats it .. My trip to Sakata and back by hitching ! Was an interesting experience !