CHAPTER 18: Goddess of All that Flows

Kōbō Daishi (774-835 – also known as Kūkai), the priest who brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan, sought the goddess’ protection for Kōyasan shortly after establishing his center for Shingon worship and study on the sacred mountaintop plateau in the early ninth century. In fact, Kōbō Daishi himself established the shrine on top of Bentendake. Although the site is small, the relationship between Benten/Benzaiten and Kōyasan continues to this day.

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CHAPTER 17: All Roads Lead to Kyoto

CHAPTER 17: All Roads Lead to Kyoto

Hieizan (Mt. Hiei) – July 2-3, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in Chapter 12 of CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. To break up the nearly 8-hour journey from Mt. Daisen in Tottori Prefecture to sacred Kōyasan in Wakayama, I made an overnight stop in the Kyoto area–but this time, I bypassed the ancient capital itself and headed into the mountains that ring Kyoto for an overnight stay (and climb) on Mt. Hiei. It only takes about 90 minutes to travel from Kyoto

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CHAPTER 16: Daisen’s Giant Chipmunk

CHAPTER 16: Daisen’s Giant Chipmunk

Mt. Daisen: July 1, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. At the time of its completion in 2011, the Tokyo Skytree was the largest tower, and the second-largest man-made structure in the world. As of 2020, it remains in the top five, and is easily visible from many of Tokyo’s 23 wards, as well as the neighboring mountains. At night, and on holidays, the tower lights up in a variety of colors. I loved being able to

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CHAPTER 11: The Mountain Wants to Be Climbed

CHAPTER 11: The Mountain Wants to Be Climbed

Mt. Bandai: June 15, 2018 The images in this photo supplement follow the events in Chapter 11 of CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features”: information that didn’t make it into the book. This decorative horse, in the lobby of my hotel near Mt. Bandai, is made in the style of traditional wooden horse carvings that originated in the Tōhōku region. The motif carried through the entire property; the onsen (volcanic hot spring bath) even had small cypress horses floating in it. My first glimpse of Mt. Bandai, out the window of

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