Vision of beautiful landscapes

In all three cases the individuals reported a sense of emergence into another place (or dimension of reality). Two of them recognized it as the Realm of Yomi. They described it as a place of incredible beauty, full of gardens and scented flowers. In both cases, the landscape was described as being particularly bright. According to Mrs O.: 'the ground was filled with beautiful yellow flowers, like a sort of carpet'. She couldn't tell what kind of flowers there were but she noticed the colors were very unusual and very bright. Similarly, Mrs C. said: 'I realized (after a period of unconsciousness) that I was in a place filled with inexplicable gentle light and nice fragrances, as well as beautiful flowers. Then I heard a beautiful voice and music.'

As has been reported in previous studies (Hata, in Hadfield 1991; Tachibana 1994), this kind of vision of a beautiful place seems to be a recurrent feature in Japanese NDEs. One reason could be that nature is strongly connected with spirituality in Japan. For instance, the representations of beautiful and idealistic landscapes are often painted on silk or parchment scrolls, which are commonly used in Japanese houses as an aid to meditation. The Japanese tendency to have near-death visions related to the natural environment could be related to their intimate relationship with nature. This phenomenon has been called 'biophilia' (Wilson 1984). However, there are some exceptions. For instance, Mr. C. did not notice any garden, park or similar, but found himself in a strange place where he had never been before. He said:

I found myself in a strange place. Soon I realized that something unusual was going on. I had no pain or suffering, either mentally or physically, and I felt serene. But, I didn't have a clue where to turn. I knew I had to decide about something but I had no clue what it should be. I had qualms about it and at the same time I took an interest in it. No one was around me. No living things were around me. I remember that I felt serene but lonely.

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