There is a mountain out beyond Nara, one of the smallest in a line of hills looming over the land.
Land where once they buried their kings.
They say this mountain is a god, they say this mountain lives.
They say he feels each step taken upon his form, each breath, each thought.
This is Omononushi, the kami spirit of Mount Miwa and ancient forebear of the Yamato Kings.
If you venture there, out beyond the stuttering encroachments of suburbia and light industrial filth marring the flats, that threaten to swallow the farmland and ancient relics of the region –
If you venture there, don’t climb for the sport of it; to tick off another box on your peak bagging escapades.
If you set foot on its trail, don’t later reveal your inner most thoughts, don’t mention what you saw, don’t show me your photographs or sketches on the back of a piece of sticky lolly paper.
Cameras and sketchbooks are strictly forbidden. Your thoughts and musings are between you and the mountain alone.
Put away that food while you’re at it. A bottle of water will suffice.
Pay your penance, don your bell, purify your unclean self and step onto hallowed ground.
Forget your overblown Fuji-sans and these Tateyama and Haku-san upstarts.
This is the holiest mountain in a land dotted with holy mountains.