Have you ever tried meditating before? Do you find it challenging to unwind and focus on your breathing? How about performing it directly below a chilly, awe-inspiring waterfall? If your answer is YES, you’d better try this unique yet rewarding Takigyo experience or Japanese waterfall meditation for yourself.
The Meaning Behind Takigyo
By itself, the kanji character for “go” and “waterfall” translates as “clear your mind and rejuvenate your spirit in the serene atmosphere of nature,” so you could assume that Takigyo refers to visiting a waterfall to do just that. Well, that already sounds good the way it is.
In reality, takigyo is a sort of ascetic meditation that is practiced in Japan. It is performed while standing beneath a waterfall and allowing the water to pound on you in order to clear your mind of mental impurities, afflictions, and other distracting thoughts.
Although it is a feature of traditional Japanese culture, we don’t advise rushing off into the mountains and camping out beneath the first cascade you come across for safety concerns. Fortunately for Masanuki, Ryusenji Temple in Kita Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, conducts a takigyo program every second Saturday of the month.
Takigyo is More Than Just an Experience
Japanese meditation encourages people to spend time in nature that provides a sense of refreshment and tranquility.
Takigyo is the name of a traditional Japanese meditation practice where practitioners stand at the base of a waterfall and prays while the stream is pouring straight down on them.
The “Shiro-Shozoku,” or white robe for the bereaved, is the necessary attire for this practice. When the waterfall cascades down from above, those performing this ritual are focused on maintaining calm, slowly breathing, and praying. Meditation sessions can range from one to twenty minutes or longer, depending on the water level and one’s health.
Takigyo meditation has a profound significance for fostering a person’s deeper bond with and connection to nature, in addition to praying for happiness and peace in life. The inherent interdependence between nature and humanity has been recognized by the Japanese people since ancient times. Food for humans is abundant in nature. Floods are a type of natural calamity that poses a danger to human life.
How Takigyo is Done
When you initially start meditating, you should lean forward and meet the practice with your hands on your chest. The meditator must kneel, scoop water onto their shoulders with a wooden spoon, and utter their whole name before entering the waterfall area. Then stand up, fold your hands in front of your chest, and make three bows to the waterfall’s center, left, and right. Once you’ve done that, turn your back to the waterfall and let it flow down your right shoulder, then your left shoulder, down your neck, then your torso.
Try to concentrate on maintaining regular breathing while you meditate or pray.
The outside monks chant Hannya Shingyo while they meditate (Mantra of the Heart). There are 7 repetitions of the mantra. However, female meditators repeat it only three times. The monks simply count the 108 beads on the wrist while reciting. The number 108 is used in Buddhism to symbolize the 108 human disturbances. At the end of the year, it’s anticipated that these 108 ailments will be gone.
Before beginning meditation, you should properly warm up your body, perform stomach-strengthening exercises, and get enough sleep. Meditation should not be practiced by anyone experiencing back, neck, or shoulder discomfort, cardiac issues, or intoxication.
A Timeless Ancestral Custom Open to All
This kind of asceticism appears to have gained popularity over the past ten years and is now commonly accessible.
This religious activity is somewhat linked with entertainment for certain people. Some wellness centers that provide this service even refer to it as a “detox day!” The motivations expressed by these aspiring ascetics include a desire for experience, a desire for communion with nature, a drive to succeed, or even just a wish to change their thoughts. Participants frequently mention the need to purify oneself and fend off misfortune by “this gift of oneself” to nature.
Takigyo meditation is not only popular with Japanese people; it is also experienced by many foreigners at mountain temples in Japan.
The Best Places in Japan to Experience Takigyo
Have you decided to try Takigyo now? It should be noted that there are various locations in Japan where waterfalls can be enjoyed in a safe manner. It is not strongly advised to test the water alone because it can be unpredictable at times. A waiver typically needs to be completed before beginning the activity, and participants are required to be in decent physical condition.
Here are some of the best places where Takigyo is being practiced:
Yuhi no Taki Waterfall (Kanagawa)
Yuhi no Taki is a wonderful waterfall known for its therapeutic abilities close to Tokyo, and the group Shugennokai regularly arrange programs there. The waterfall would undoubtedly be the pinnacle of asceticism. And for more than a thousand years, the state’s religions have traveled here to enjoy the benefits of its advantages.
Mountains of Bentendre Taki (Yamanashi)
In addition to being highly regarded for its mountains and hot springs, Takigyo fans adore the Yamanashi region’s waterfalls. At the Bentendre temple, the Bentendre Taki waterfall is an excellent example. It frequently accepts many pilgrimage groups for asceticism under the supervision of neighborhood monks despite being lost in the midst of the relief surrounding it. Before the session starts, a prayer is recited, and the establishment provides garments.
Shukubo at Komadori Sanso (Chichibu)
Mr. Baba and his wife welcome guests to their shukubo on Mount Mitake for a memorable stay. The owner, a Shinto priest at Musashi Mitake Shrine, has spent nearly 20 years leading pilgrims into the forest and educating them in the fundamentals of Zen. He also teaches them in the Takigyo manner, which he has been following since he was 17 years old, after serving them a delicious prepared breakfast.
Apparently, Takigyo, the traditional Japanese waterfall rite, involved more than just a short splash. Because we want you to make your experience more meaningful, here’s a summary of the things you need to remember for your first ever Takigyo meditation!
The Purpose of Takigyo Meditation
- To wash pointless ideas away.
- To enlighten the mind.
- To think about God.
- To become one with nature.
- To pray for your personal desires.
The Takigyo Meditation Method
- Pay attention to the explanations
- Declare your intention to meditate to the spirits of Shirataki.
- Get dressed in the proper attire.
- Use your voice’s strength to express your spirit and to revitalize your body.
- Bow in the direction of the waterfall
- Renew your spirit in the water.
- Go to the waterfall to contemplate.
- Pray to the Shirataki Waterfall’s soul
Guidelines to remember if you want to practice Takigyo meditation.
- You must make a reservation in advance.
- The experience could not be possible because of the weather, the amount of water, etc.
- Only during the hours of sunrise and just before sundown is Takigyo meditation possible.
- It is possible to make exclusive reservations.
- It is acceptable to take images of yourself or your group members, but taking pictures of other people without their permission must be avoided.
This fantastic experience for oneself should not be overlooked. If you want to learn more interesting information, simply visit our blog section.