Reigando Cave

Reigando Cave

Entrance Buddhas

Took a visit to Reigando Cave, the site where Miyamoto Musashi, the famed samurai and swordsman, wrote the Book of Five Rings.   This cave is located way outside the small city of Kumamoto, up in the mountains – windy road there, then, once we got to the turn off (by some beautiful terraced rice fields), there was another climb up a very windy road to the entrance way.  There is a small shrine right at the front – where we were greated by a pilgrimmage couple beating an hypnotic rhythm on a drum and chanting in preparation for their entry into the sacred space.   Then there is a bit of a climb up and over several large rock formations to get to the actual cave.  Very slippery when wet, these seemed  to form the perfect metaphor for the end of spiritual quest, which often gets more difficult the closer to the objective you get.   The route is lined with hundreds of sitting Buddha’s that were placed there several hundred years ago and now are in quite disrepair after earthquakes and weather.   The  story is that each person can see themselves in one of the Buddha’s faces – as our guide pointed out, this was more likely before westerners started arriving.   The cave itself is a large, shallow cave that opens on to a view of trees.  There is a large central rock, on which someone has places a small statue, some alter-like area and stairs and wooden floor built in to make it more accessible.   For those with a serious interest in samurai studies, this is a must see destination, well worth the personal pilgrimage to experience.

Entrance Temple

Is this your face?

Is This Your Face?

Cave Entrance

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