Ok, this story is not the usual travel guide. I am going to share the experience with my best mate in Kyoto for a few years ago. As you can see the title, I’m going to tell you a spooky story here where I stayed in Kyoto.
Firstly, I tell you that there are so many ghost stories in Japan, and a lot of Japanese people also believe in ghost too. Well, I am one of them.
However, I don’t see any ghost, but I can feel something wrong. For instance, when I visit somewhere like a hotel room or places, I feel like “Oh no, this is not good” without particular reasons.
So, when I stay somewhere for the first time, I always give them a call to see how the receptionist’s sound like. Because I believe if there is something wrong, you can feel with the receptions’ attitude such as very down tunes or happy tunes or rude. If I think it’s kind of disturbed, then I won’t book that place. You can also see the quality of their service anyway. You don’t stay at rude hotels, don’t you?
However, I always only stay at the same hotel in Kyoto. I don’t stay any other hotels at all. But for this time, it was only one night for catching up with my best friend so that I just booked a hotel just short second from Kyoto station and it was cheaper than my usual hotel.
Ok, this spooky story began from here.
Why are spooky stories are so common in Kyoto?
Kyoto is over 1300 years old capital city. Also, there are so many temples and shrines there; it’s impossible to count how many of them. Kyoto is a religious city and also well-known as a ghosty city too.
I was supposed to meet my friend at the Kyoto station, but she missed one train so that I was head to the hotel to check-in, instead of just waiting for her.
For that moment, I thought it should be ok because it’s a newly renovated hotel and they should be done Shinto rite to exorcise evil spirits. Well, there was no evidence, silly me, I just thought like that because of its new hotel.
I got room key at the reception, then got an elevator which was a tiny one. Our room was on the 7th floor. I opened the door, and the room was ok, just a bit dim, but the room coordinated with Kyoto style colour like red and black. These colours don’t effectively widen the room. Usually, it makes smaller than using white-based colours. Anyway, that was my first impression of the room. And again, it’s a reasonably cheap hotel with good reviews.
However, it’s kind of unsettled feeling, so I decided to leave the room earlier to meet up my friend at the station, and I would like to buy some souvenir for my family in Sydney.
I hadn’t seen my best mate for 12 years at that time. She was my bride of honour then I met here when I was studying in England in 1991. Since then, she is like my sister. So, I was so excited to catch up with her. And she is also a bit like me; she can feel some sort of oddness or spiritual weirdness. So I thought that I was not alone anyway.
When I saw her at the hotel, she asked me like that:
T：Wow, it’s been so long not seeing you! So how is the hotel?
Me：Well, it’s ok. It’s a bit small room, but you know, it’s a cheap deal.
T: Okey, Let’s drop my luggage off there then.
We just walked towards the hotel, When I opened the door, she said;
T：Well….. let’s talk all night, it should be fine. We can keep the lights on too.
Me：Really, you think so too? Right….(sigh).
Then I suddenly remembered I’ve got a present for her. She had been having a few troubles for a few years so that I bought sacred sand from Seimei shrine. Seimei shrine is enshrined Abe no Seimei who was well known Onmyouji and the powerful shaman in the Heian period when Kyoto was the capital of Japan.
In Japan, if you are having lousy luck then sometimes people go to shrines, especially local shrines to exorcise or pray to get rid of these bad luck. I heard that Seimei shrines’ sacred sand was quite powerful enough to exorcise if she’s got something unpleasant, even it’s not truly worked, what a hey, it’s from me with love.
M: Wait! I’ve got a present for you! I packed it in my suitcase. You know, it’s very special!!
It was so hard to find it because I’d already bought quite a lot of stuff for home so my suitcase was almost full. Then finally I found it, it was the bottom of my suitcase. Then when I took it out….
Suddenly, the room was righter than before!
We both shouted ” WOW”!!
You know the light dimmer, when you turn the light dimmer up just like that!
We were just surprised what happened, both agreed that room was lighter than before, so we decided to sprinkle the sacred sand all over the room, including the bathroom too. Then we were off to have dinner.
Well, this hotel was supposed to be new, at least newly renovated. But it’s Kyoto. Then compare to after I took out sacred sand, it was definitely dark, my best mate totally agreed with me. We both saw the same time what happened.
However, we slept well, didn’t need to stay up all night for our safety.
And you know, Seimei shrine was not ordinary shrine at all (I believe all shrines are special for everyone!). Then next morning I revisited Seimei shrine with her for thank for protecting us the night.
However, we won’t stay any other hotels in Kyoto again!
Then we actually stayed at a hotel, were supposed to be this powerful shaman, Abe no Seimei’s old property for the next visit Kyoto in 2018. It’s just a legend, but I have read a few stories about the hotel that Abe no Seimei would have done eternal spell on his property so that the hotel is protected from any evil spirits. So these wicked spirits or ghosty things can’t get inside the hotel.
Anyway, this is it, a kind of spooky story which we experienced, but we were not surprised because it is Kyoto! And I am sure a lot of Japanese agree with me too. It’s Kyoto!!
Hope you enjoyed my story though xx.