I went for the most A-M-A-Z-I-N-G run this morning in Narita, Japan through Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. Thanks to jetlag I was out by 5:30 am with a bright sun already at a low angle in a clear blue sky. The temple grounds are ~1000 years old and are some of the largest in all of Japan, and as luck would have it – are about a 5-minute jog from my hotel.
I was absolutely gob-smacked running through the stunning grounds this morning, which I had virtually to myself thanks to the early hour. The temple is a series of buildings over a huge area, which also houses a monastery.
As I approached the lower grounds I could hear chanting. I ran up the stone steps to the temple where the sound was coming from, and just as I arrived the low droning chants ended and a procession of monks left the prayer room in purple, green, yellow or black robes.
Each man put on a pair of traditional Japanese high platform wooden slippers and in single file they began clacking their way all around the temples and the grounds. I kept running into lines of monks as I continued my run. They started giggling when they saw me again and again.
With an hour and 20 minutes into jogging and exploring the grounds and temples, I finally headed back to the hotel, but I’ll never forget waking up in a new city, seeing a temple spire poking up above the tree tops on a few small wooded hills across the way from my hotel window, and thinking to myself, “Hmm, looks like a good place to run to and check out.” Little did I know that one spire, on the highest temple building, was just the tip of the iceberg as to what was was hidden in those wooded hills.
One of my favorite expedition runs of all times for shizzle. Now on to the next adventure…