When Pico Iyer decided to go to Kyoto and live in a monastery, he did so to learn about Zen Buddhism from the inside, to get to know Kyoto, one of the loveliest old cities in the world, and to find out something about Japanese culture today–not the world of businessmen and production lines, but the traditional world of changing seasons and the silence of temples, of the images woven through literature, of the lunar Japan that still lives on behind the rising sun of geopolitical power.
Makoto, an assassin who once was contracted by the government, has since become obsessed with tearing it down.
We take a winter journey through Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan, to Kyoto. In the ancient capital, we will celebrate "Setsubun", one of the spring festivals. Lake Biwa serves as a reservoir for the cities such as Kyoto and Osaka. It provides drinking water for about 15 million people in the Kansai region. On the lakeside people have been enjoying unique lifestyle with abundant body of water. Setsubun is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. We will visit an old temple in Kyoto, and join a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come.