A necropolis holding 200 000 tombs, which range from modest to ostentatious to surprising, Okuno-in is sure to evoke strong emotions. As you walk towards it along a rather formal 2km-long paved avenue, the blue-tinged twilight of the cryptomeria forest dotted with tombs is ethereal. This sense is compounded by the Toro-do, with its thousand lanterns shining day and night. Soon you come to the crypt housing the monk Kobo Daishi, founder of Koya-San, for 12 centuries. He is not dead, he is meditating.

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