Another place that I liked was Naritasan Buddhist Temple, when I was in Japan. The Buddhism is important in Japan, of course, for martial artists there too. It affected Japanese history, and it was affected also. In his books, Hatsumi Sensei always talks about some Buddhist, Taoist or Confucian idea. I believe it is important consider it.
I believe spirituality is in everything, and it is impossible to separate it to the rest. It is anthropological, human being is bound to it since, at least, the moment that discovered death. Not only Japan, every place was affected in a certain way by a spiritual systems or religions sometime. So, that’s why I think it is important consider it, also. You do not need follow one of them, but respect and understand the connection will help.
Naritasan is beautiful! When you arrive, sometimes there are volunteers close to main hall who guide you to know the temple. They explain history of the temple, also about: deities, prayers, meditations, and the garden itself. There is a big and wonderful garden there. I saw some bonsais at forest, wonderful! They look like dragons drinking water close to the river.
There is also an amazing place dedicated to Fudō Myō Sama where you can also find historical paintings and a small museum. If you have enough time, you should visit. There, I experienced my first Goma Fire Ritual of Shingon Buddhism that will be described in another post. I felt myself very good!
In order to improve myself in Budo Taijutsu, there are many things yet to discover. On my humble understanding, I should to enjoy and explore more about the Japanese culture beyond the training.
More information can be found at: www.naritasan.or.jp.
Enjoy your trip!