The journey from Osaka, to this forest, isn’t a quick one, but ever changing landscape with fog rolling off the mountains and the traditional buildings was worth a 6 hour round trip! The walk through the cemetery starts with the crossing of Ichino-hashi, a bridge which marks the entrance to the sacred site. The constant drizzle of rain, became methodic and definitely brought an air of calm and a sort of inner peace. Feeling humbled, I walked with my companions from the bridge, down the cobblestone path. Overshadowed by incredible cedar trees parallel to the floor. Never have I been encompassed by such an ambience that was present here.

The weather being as it was discouraged most tourists, and allowed us to explore uninterrupted and pay proper respects to many of the shrines. Through clearings between trees and under the lifted roots piled onto one another, were the smallest of shrines; homages to tree spirits. Known for a multitude of names, however the most renowned being the Kodama. Japanese have always had the utmost respect for trees. For whatever reason, perhaps due to distorted undulations of trunks, or knots and marks resembling human features, some trees were identified as familiars to spirits.