Release Day For TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA!

Today is release day for the newest Hiro Hattori mystery, TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA! Every book I write becomes my new favorite, and this one is no exception. I consider KOYA my dual love letter to Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (one of my favorite books, growing up) and one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

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Koyasan! A Return To The Scene Of The Crime

Tomorrow morning (July 3 in Japan, though it’s only dawning July 2 in the U.S. now) I’m traveling to Koyasan (Mount Koya), in Wakayama Prefecture — one of Japan’s most sacred peaks and the setting for my newest Hiro Hattori mystery, Trial on Mount Koya, which releases July 3. As part of my ongoing project to climb 100 of Japan’s most famous peaks in a single year, I’ll be climbing and hiking on and around Mount Koya on July 3 and 4, to celebrate the release of this new novel.

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Fudo Myo-o and the Fudo Hall (Koyasan Part 3)

Fudo Myo-o and the Fudo Hall (Koyasan Part 3)

Founded by the monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) during the 9th century, Danjo Garan continues to function as the heart of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism in Japan. While the entire kōya (mountaintop valley) is considered a single “temple,” the complex at Danjo Garan holds many important historical structures that still serve a role in modern Buddhist worship – including the Fudō-do, or Fudō Hall.   (To read this series on Koya from the beginning, click here.) In Shingon Buddhist belief, Fudō Myō-ō is an incarnation of the Buddha and the leader of the wisdom kings. He protects the living and guides them toward enlightenment.

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Kōya, Part 2: A Walk to Danjo Garan

Kōya, Part 2: A Walk to Danjo Garan

Danjo Garan, the primary temple complex on Kōya, sits about two blocks from the “main street” visitor center, shops, and restaurants. Although all of Kōya is considered a single temple complex, Danjo Garan acts as the beating heart of Kōyasan Shingon Buddhism. (To start this series on Kōya from the beginning, click here.)

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A Visit to Koyasan, part 1: Up the Mountain!

A Visit to Koyasan, part 1: Up the Mountain!

Kōyasan, or Kōya, is a natural basin atop a mountain in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. The shallow basin (called a kōya in Japanese) sits 800 meters above sea level, and is home to one of Japan’s most sacred temple complexes (also known as Kōyasan), as well as Japan’s largest cemetery, Okunoin. In the weeks that come, I hope you’ll join me for a virtual tour of Kōya and its various sites of interest. Today, we’re taking the journey up the mountain by cable car.

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A Visit to Kongobuji, Part 2: The Dragon Garden

A Visit to Kongobuji, Part 2: The Dragon Garden

(To start the visit to Kongobuji from the beginning, click here.) After entering the main building of Kongobuji, visitors pass through the gold-doored ohiroma (sadly, no photos allowed) and along a hallway with wooden floors worn smooth by time and the passage of many feet. Like many Japanese temples, Kongobuji features gardens in every outdoor space, no matter how small.

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