恐 = fear
山 = mountain
恐山 = Fear Mountain
Yep, a place in Japan called "Fear Mountain".
Osorezan came highly recommended. It's one of the three holiest sites in Japan, founded in the 9th century by Buddhist priest En'nin. Chillin in Kyoto having a dream, En'nin was shown a place with 108 boiling pools of sulfur and mud, each corresponding to one of the 108 worldly desires, each linked to hell itself. The landscape wasn't just gloom and doom though, the 8 mountains and lake were so beautiful that they were nothing less than an image of Paradise, a blooming lotus flower. En'nin walked 30 days from Kyoto, found his dream spot, built a statue of the Bodhisattva Jizo, and the rest is Buddhist history.
If you come here July 20th, blind mediums will channel the dead for you. No blind mediums on July 27th though. Missed it by a couple of days.
There are some onsens inside the temple itself. Don't forget your towel. At 6am, I had the whole place to myself.
Living in Tokyo, one can forget how amazing the religious sites in Japan are. Tokyo is chock full of temples and shrines, but they are nestled between crumbling high rise apartments and messy power cables in most cases. Something like Osorezan is well...
Next time: I missed the ferry from Oma to Hakkodate.