07 Jan '18, 12am

Trekking to discover sacred Japan

Trekking to discover sacred Japan

Whipped by the incessant rain, I am drenched and cold when I finally arrive at the hillside Negoro-ji Temple, exhausted. The hike up the wet and slippery path has been hard as parts of the trail have been flooded by the heavy rain. Near the entrance to the temple, an old man waves, beckoning me into a hall, which also serves as a kitchen. Inside, there are a dozen or so men and women in their 70s, all chatting until they turn their attention to me. One by one, they offer me a seat, snacks, hot tea and a dry towel as they attempt to ask me where I am from and find out more about this foreign visitor. I know I am in good company even though we do not speak a common language. The misery of being rain-soaked quickly vanishes as I am instantly warmed up in this bubble of hospitality known as o-settai. This is the act of sharing food or money with pilgrims - an ancient custom th...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/travel/trekking-to-...

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