There’s a palpable spirituality and energy in this sacred temple, the second head temple of Japan’s Soto school of Zen Buddhism, which was founded more than 750 years ago. "Visiting the Hokyoji Temple was an uplifting part of the journey for me," says Ripert. "I find even the staircases within are symbolic, making me ponder where I am in life and where I am going to elevate to."

"When you go to a place where there’s a lot of spirituality that’s been accumulated that energy stays there and I felt it immediately. "

"When you meditate with someone who knows what he’s doing – a master or a monk, it’s like he’s helping you, it’s like you levitate next to them. I could feel the monk’s energy lifting me. It’s like any mentorship, when you are supported by someone who has been doing something for thirty years, it makes it easier for the less experienced person. "

"While the monk was chanting, I took my beads and I recited a mantra, just to prepare myself for the rest of the experience and to get into the right mood. And at the same time the monk’s voice was very present in my mind and it helped me to stay in the moment and not be distracted as well. "

For more information: Hokyoji Temple