At Hanaya Tokubei, our ryokan (inn) in Tenkawamura.
Our traditional pilgrim's ryokan (inn) in Tenkawamura.
These are the cliffs off of which yamabushi (Shugendo Mountain ascetics) hang each other when they make promises to Zao Gongen, the mountain deity.
This is the traditional outfit worn by a yamabushi -- a Shugendo mountain ascetic. Strangely enough, pretty much every part of this flamboyant outfit has a practical purpose -- for example, there's an odd little black hat you strap to your forehead, but which also doubles as a drinking cup. There is also a pelt that hangs down from the back of the belt so the yamabushi can sit down comfortably anywhere.
Suspension bridge on the Shugendo mountain ascetic trails of Mount Omine.
Our guide walking the Shugendo trails on Mount Omine
Mount Omine -- the most sacred part of the mountain. Still no women allowed
The entrance to the holiest part of Mount Omine, headquarters of the Shugendo religion.
The clothes they put us in for the mountain ascetic waterfall purification ritual.
The village of Tenkawamura on Mount Omine
Our incredible ryokan (inn) in Tenkawamura, Mount Omine.