In a world that feels increasingly more chaotic by the day, people are searching for ways to enjoy life’s natural highs. VICE’s Fernando Perez traveled to Japan to learn about Shugendo, an ancient Japanese practice centered around finding peace through nature.
Based on the ascetic practices of En no Gyoja, Shugendo practitioners are known to wander through the forests of Japan for months on end, meditate under freezing cold waterfalls and to stand on the edge of vast cliffs. The entire process is meant to slow things down by becoming a part of nature, and by doing so achieve a higher form of consciousness. From meeting the traditional monks of Sakuramotobou Temple to experiencing life with Kosho, a free monk in Kumano, VICE got a taste of what Shugendo can bring to daily life.