Shift and slide through the darkened rooms as a shade. Turn on no lights; let the sense of the place guide you as you walk around.
step by step
letting my feet roll slowly
from heel to toe
I’m one with the forest
the chirping of the insects
gives my breathing rhythm
First things first: anyone who thinks that a temple on the edge of a forest will be a quiet place to practice might be as familiar as I am with living on the edge of a forest, and that is not very familiar at all. And second: Horakuan is, indeed, a place of stillness and quiet in the midst of cacophonies of sound. This is a fine place to begin.
When we arrived at Horakuan, we found a beautiful temple in a secluded and beautiful forest on the hills of Suzaka and just minutes away from other residences. Horakuan combines for me the best of different worlds; nature, beauty, inspiration (temple), isolation and silence, access to culture (museums), relaxation (hot springs), small town and hence safety.
Essentials that would make your time at Horakuan easier:
Many surprises awaited us at Horakuan! The remoteness combined with being a short drive from the town of Suzaka. The utter stillness, peace and beauty. And most of all, Dorothee’s generous offering of this as our place to stay.
I stayed at Horakuan for nearly 3 weeks and it was one of the best experiences of my lifetime. Far away from crowded and big cities, Suzaka will offer you a great insight about Japanese daily life and culture.
What you experience at Horakuan will, of course, depend on the time of the year that you stay. I went in April – Spring with all of the unpredictable weather that the season can bring. So we experienced bright sunny days, cool days and even a blanket of snow!
We spent 12 days at Horakuan in October and we truly enjoyed our time there. Horakuan is a magical place near the Japanese Alps, surrounded by beautiful tall trees that turn to all shades of orange, yellow and red during autumn.