Mount Koya (Koya-san), Wakayama Prefecture

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Domo arigato.
  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery, Wakayama Prefecture

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Okunoin Cemetery in Wakayama Prefecture

    Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Mausoleum Of Monk Kobo Daishi Okunoin Cemetery

    Mausoleum Of Monk Kobo Daishi Okunoin Cemetery, Mt. Koya

  • Mount Koya Konpon Daito Pagoda

    Konpon Daito Pagoda, Mount Koya

  • Mount Koya Konpon Daito Pagoda

    Konpon Daito Pagoda, Mount Koya

  • Cedar Trees Mount Koya Konpon Daito Pagoda in Wakayama Prefecture

    Cedar Trees, Mount Koya

  • Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex Mount Koya

    Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex, Mount Koya

  • Temple Bell Daito No Kane At Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex of Mount Koya

    Temple Bell Daito No Kane At Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex

  • Rokkaku Kyouzo At Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex of Mount Koya

    Rokkaku Kyouzo At Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex

  • Kondo Hall Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex of Mount Koya

    Kondo Hall Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex

  • Miyashiro At Danjo-Garan Temple Complex of Mount Koya

    Miyashiro At Danjo-Garan Temple Complex

  • Daiedo Hall Danjo-Garan Temple Complex At Mount Koya

    Daiedo Hall, Danjo-Garan Temple Complex At Mount Koya

  • Torii Sanno-in Danjo-Garan Temple Complex At Mount Koya

    Torii Sanno-in, Danjo-Garan Temple Complex At Mount Koya

  • Sanno-in, Danjo-Garan Temple Complex At Mount Koya

    Sanno-in, Danjo-Garan Temple Complex At Mount Koya

  • Torodo or Lantern Hall Koyasan

    Torodo or Lantern Hall, Koyasan

  • Kongobuji Temple Gate of Mount Koya

    Kongobuji Temple Gate, Mount Koya

  • Kongobuji Temple Gate of Mount Koya

    Kongobuji Temple Gate, Mount Koya

  • Banryutei Kongobuji Stone Garden of Mount Koya

    Banryutei Kongobuji Stone Garden, Mount Koya

  • Kongobuji Temple of Mount Koya

    Kongobuji Temple, Mount Koya

  • Belfry Kongobuji Temple of Mount Koya

    Belfry Kongobuji Temple, Mount Koya

  • Red Bridge Hasu-ike Pond of Mount Koya

    Red Bridge Hasu-ike Pond, Mount Koya

  • Red Bridge Hasu-ike Pond of Mount Koya

    Red Bridge Hasu-ike Pond, Mount Koya

  • Sanmaido Hall And Daiedo Hall At Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex

    Sanmaido Hall And Daiedo Hall At Danjo-Garan Central Temple Complex

  • Yochi-in Koyasan

    Yochi-in Koyasan

  • Yochi-in Koyasan

    Yochi-in Koyasan

  • Yochi-in Koyasan

    Yochi-in Koyasan

  • Yochi-in Koyasan

    Yochi-in Koyasan

  • Line Of Red Gates (Torii) Mount Koya

    Line Of Red Gates (Torii), Mount Koya

  • Kitsune Statue Mount Koya

    Kitsune Statue, Mount Koya

  • Street View Mount Koya

    Street View, Mount Koya

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Facts & Figures

Koya-san or Mount Koya is the famous home of the headquarters of the Koyasan sect of Shingon Buddhism and a major pilgrimage site. More than 100 temples are located in this area and forming this sacred place in the mountains of Wakayama. Koyasan is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range. Shingon Buddhism was introduced to Japan by priest Kobo Daishi / Kukai (774 - 835), the founder of the temple complex at Koyasan. The central or head temple of Esoteric Buddhism in Koyasan is Kongobu-ji temple. Japan Rail PassSince 2004 I travel nearly every year to Japan. The rail pass made my life easier to discover all those amazing places in my favourite country. The temple complex, located on a wooded mountaintop, was constructed by the well-known daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Okunoin, largest graveyard in Japan and site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum, is also located at the mountaintop and marks the start and end point of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. A visit of Mount Koya would not be complete without staying overnight in one of the temple inns (shukubo). You can participate there in ceremonies performed by priests in the morning.

My tips for local activities

How about exploring the amazing Mt. Koya and its historical places with a local guide. Check out this page for more details.

History

In 816 Emperor Saga gave priest Kobo Daishi the permission to establish a temple complex at Koyasan. Kobo Daishi and his followers founded in this year a Shingon temple complex and religious retreat. During the year 826 started the construction of the Danjo-Garan temple complex. Kobo Daishi's successor Shinzen Daitoku finished the project. Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536 - 1598, famous daimyo and general) established in 1593 the Kongobu-ji temple. In 2004 Koyasan was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Location

Map of Japan

Koyasan is located in the northeastern part of the Wakayama Prefecture.

How to get to Koya-san?

  • 100min from Osaka Namba Station to Gokuraku-bashi St. by Nankai Koya Line and
  • 5min from Gokuraku-bashi Station to Koyasan by cable car

Sightseeing spots at Mount Koya

top:

Okunoin - most sacred site in Koyasan, mausoleum of Kobo Daishi (Kuukai) is located here surrounded by the largest graveyard in Japan (app. 500.000 graves)

Kongobu-ji - the head temple of the Shingon Buddhism, an Important Cultural Property, is a 160.000 square meters complex and attracts thousands of visitors every year

Danjo-Garan temple - the sacred area consists of 20 buildings, priest Kobo Daishi opened this place first as a training center of Shingon esoteric Buddhism

Konpon Daito Pagoda - is part of the Danjo-Garan temple, the height of the unique pagoda is 45 meters and contains a statue of the Dainichi Nyorai Buddha

Koyasan Choishi-michi trail - is a 23,5 km trail and was the main access to Koyasan, enjoy the 7hrs hiking tour through a forest of huge Japanese cedar trees from Kudoyama Station to the Daimon Gate (entrance of Mt. Koya)

Banryutei Rock Garden - located within the Kongobu-ji Temple, is with 140 granite stones the largest in Japan

Reihokan Museum - on display are work of religious art

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

June

Aoba matsuri (festival) (15th)
Traditional ceremonies and processions are performed at temples all over the town to celebrate Kobo Daishi's birthday.

August

Mando-kuyo-e (Candle Festival) (13th)
Thousands of candles are placed along the paths of the Okunoin cemetery.

Where to stay near Mount Koya?

My 100 Best Moments in Japan

Train ride from Osaka to Kyoto

I am visiting Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
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