Mahikari-kyo   真光

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Mahikari temple-kyo in the snow.


A monumental staircase reminiscent of a Mayan pyramid.

All that glitters is not gold

Nothing seems to disturb the serenity of the emerald mountains that surround Takayama. Not even the insolent glare of Mahikari temple, which, in its provocative proportions, does not go unnoticed.

"True Light," is the literal meaning of Mahikari, the name of this new religion. It was founded in 1963 by Yoshikazu Okada (1901-1974), a former officer of the Imperial Guard of the Emperor, after a very original epiphany. Suffering from a very high temperature, he saw the Great Creator with white hair busy washing clothes in a golden bowl! Transformed by this glimpse of divine intimacy, Okada decided to share his vision with the world.

The Mahikari school has followers throughout Japan, but two-thirds of its faithful are abroad, including in Australia and the Benelux countries. It borrows elements of Shintoism (emphasis on purity, veneration of the Emperor) Buddhism (belief in karma, in reincarnation) and shamanism (divine status of the leader and miraculous healings).

The mother house, completed in 1984, has the same taste for combinations in its architecture. A monumental staircase reminiscent of a Mayan pyramid rises to a Buddhist inspire temple, framed by what look like minarets and capped with a curved roof covered with gold leaves. Curious visitors enjoy the visit for the oddity of the setting and others meet with the doctrinaire traces of the thinking that is celebrated here. In any case, do not forget to call ahead to request an English speaking guide.

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