Rengejoin temple atop Mt. Koya in Japan
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Rengejoin Temple on Mount Koya, Japan

For centuries, Japan’s Mt. Koya, near Osaka, has been a destination for those seeking peaceful meditation. Visitors today can stay at one of the Buddhist temples that host guests. At Rengejoin, where monks rake the gravel into swirling geometric patterns, you have the chance to eat and meditate with the monks or just take in the quiet beauty of the place. (Kate Graham)
Sliding doors covered with rice paper separate sparse rooms at Rengejoin. While visiting the temple, guests become accustomed to retiring early -- although thin barriers mean you may hear your neighbor snore. (Kate Graham)
Stone fence posts bear inscriptions at Rengejoin temple. The Mt. Koya site is 900 years old. (Kate Graham)
Lush landscaping at the Mt. Koya temple fosters an air of quiet contemplation. (Kate Graham)