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Koyasan Japan Guide – Top things to do in Koyasan Japan

Koyasan Japan travel guide

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Koyasan Japan GuideTop things to do in Koyasan Japan

When traveling to Japan you can’t help but be attracted to the big city lights of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. The big three are usual attention grabbers for most visitors, but if you’re looking for something different something far away from a manic hustle and bustle of modern city life, to see towards the misty and mystical mounds of walking yeah, this is where you can find Koyasan.

Koyasan Japan Map

Koyasan Japan Map
Koyasan Japan Map

Koyasan is located just south of Osaka and is a common name for a large temple settlement nestled away in the north eastern mountains of waka Yama. It’s primarily known for being the headquarters of Shingen Buddhism Shingon Buddhism and Koyasan was founded by Kobo Daishi in 816 ad since the establishment of the original temple complex. Hundreds of temples have followed suit Koyasan gradually grew and led to the development of the small town known as Koya which even features its own university dedicated to religious studies in 2004 UNESCO designated Koyasan as a world heritage site.

Koyasan Japan guide
Koyasan Japan

Booking tour Koyasan Wakayama right here

Today many people visit Koyasan to not only enjoy its temples and natural sites but also to reconnect with themselves spiritually or otherwise so should. You visit a Koyasan although Koyasan is are clear on the most sacred and religious sites in all of Japan.

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You don’t necessarily need to be witches or spiritual to enjoy what this place has to offer. Yes there are going to be many temples and optional activities a religious nature but if you can look past that and simply immerse yourself in the environment. You’ll find a Koyasan is truly a beautiful and very special place I recommend spending at least two days and one night in Koyasan to get the most out of your visit what’s the best season to visit Koyasan. I visit during the audence season in mid-november but you could honestly visit Koyasan during any season if if you want to experience Koyasan as a winter wonderland then come during the winter months there really is no bad time.

Koyasan Japan Guide Tranportation

The easiest way to reach Koyasan is by train from Namba station in Osaka.You can hop on board in an line which will take you all the way down to Gokurakubashi station from there you take a cable car that leads you right up to Koyasan station where there’ll be several buses waiting to drop you off at your nearest accommodation. The Nankai Koya line is served by four train lines the local line Express line a rapid Express line and the limited Express.

Nankai Koyasan Trains
Nankai Koyasan Train

The free main station that most people use to get on the coil on our Namba station Shin-Imamiya station and Tengachaya station.All trains require a transfer and Hashimoto station except for some rapid Express trains as well as all of the limit Express trains. If you want to save money and you don’t mind a longer travel time and need for a transfer then go with the local Express and rapid Express trains. However the fastest way to reach Koyasan as it connects directly to Gokula Kobashi station with no transfers but it’s also the most expensive option as you need to pay an additional fee on top of the regular fare.

Koyasan Japan Guide



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But if that’s not a concern and you just want the fastest and easiest way to reach Koyasan then consider the limit Express. You may also consider two rail passes which covers the full transportation from two and during your stay in Koyasan. The two are the Kansai through pass and the Koyasan world heritage ticket the Kansai through Pass is worth considering if you plan to visit other places in the Kansai region. Or if staying for more than two days in Koyasan while the Koyasan of world heritage ticket is ideal for two days stay and airplane to visit the attractions using the discount rate included with the pass as you save around 15% over buying regular tickets.

Where to stay in Koyasan

Koyasan Guesthouse
Koyasan Guesthouse

Ask for accommodations you generally have two options. The first one being guest houses guest houses are the most affordable option.They are pretty much in a sense like a hostel where you’ll be sharing any common facilities with other guests. And you most likely be sleeping in a bunk bed or capsule pots but some do come with private room options. If you’re interested then check out the Koyasan guesthouse Koku.

Booking tour Koyasan Wakayama right here

Your second option is a Shukubo or a temple lodging and it’s definitely the pricier option here but it provides a unique opportunity to stay at a temple where you can participate in the morning.Prayer led by the monks working at the temple and other activities such as Sutra copying and meditation. We stayed at a temple called sighs them in and it was a wonderful experience. If you’re looking for other temple lodging options then you may consider a Eko-in, Yochi-in and Fudo-in.

Top things to do in Koyasan Japan

We bought the limited Express line at Namba station with Koyasan world heritage tickets which dropped us off at the Gokula Kobashi station. So just here at the station and we’re waiting for the cable card which will take us up to Koyasan where we’ll spend a day and a night at a Shukubo which is a temple stay looking for the experience and the fall leaves are coming in a living pretty splendid.

What to see in Koyasan – Top Koyasan Temples Japan

The Danjo Garan temple
Danjo Garan Temple

I recommend spending your time exploring the town and its many sites but if you’re looking for some inspiration here are a few places that I enjoyed. The Danjo Garan temple complex is the center of Koyasan
on the two most prominent buildings being impressive compound title pagoda and the Kondo hall. Besides the two main buildings there are also several smaller temples and monuments scattered around the complex for you to explore.

Koyasan Diamond Gate
Koyasan Diamond Gate

The great Diamond gate located on the western side of Koya the gate stands 25 meters tall and marks the entrance to Koyasan. The Reihokan museum the museum was built to house and preserve the many religious and cultural treasures of Koyasan. You can also find the Tokugawa Mausoleum which enshrines the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate Yasu and his son Hida Tada. It was built by the third Tokugawa Shogun EMitsui in order to have his family be close to the Kobo Daishi.

Booking tour Koyasan Wakayama right here

Koyasan Japan travel guide
Koyasan Wakayama

The Kongobuji temple

The Kongobuji temple
The Kongobuji Temple

Booking tour Koyasan Wakayama right here

The Kongobuji temple it was first constructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to commemorate the death of his mother but was later merged and reorganized as the head temple of Shingen Buddhism. The temples known for long corridors exquisite rooms and it’s famous Banryutei Rock Garden. The largest rock garden in all of Japan in a set to represent a pair of Dragons emerging from a sea of clouds.

Banryutei Rock Garden
Banryutei Rock Garden

While staying at Shukubo or temple Lodging is an optional activity I still highly recommend doing so as I believe it’s quite the essential experience to have for anyone visiting Koyasan for the first time.  It’s a unique opportunity to get an insight into the life of a Buddhist monk and some of the establishments here are quite beautiful in their very own peaceful and simple way.

Koyasan Saizen-In
Koyasan Saizen-In

The unique experience that comes with a stay at Shukubo is the experience of a Shojin Ryori a traditional Buddhist meal. The meal consists of a multi-course vegetarian dinner similar to a chi sake style dinner that you might find outside of Koyasan.

Koyasan meal
Koyasan meal

Booking tour Koyasan Wakayama right here

And last but not least we have Okunoin Cemetery. This is probably the main thing to visit when you’re in Koyasan. This is Japan’s largest cemetery featuring over 200,000 greats and memorials ranging from feudal ords to locals in the region as well as interestingly enough some companies I’ve seen. But I think if you’re here in Koyasan you can’t miss coming here because this is a very serene and peaceful place and sort of the whole town itself sort of centers around this place.

Koyasan Okunoin Cemetery
Koyasan Okunoin Cemetery

So just exploring and taking in the different sights and sounds of this place while I okay knowing you may want to visit the Mizumuke Zizo. Visitors make offerings and for water at the statues as a way to pray for departed family members.

Kobo Daishi Mausoleum
Kobo Daishi Mausoleum

It is also where you’ll find the Gobyobashi bridge which leads to the Kobo Daishi mausoleum. It is said that Kobo Daishi rests here in eternal meditation as he awaits the arrival of the future Buddha.It’s also important to note that it’s strictly forbidden to take any videos or photos beyond the bridge. Lastly if you’re into walking then hop on the earby a women pilgrims course that leads around the outskirts of Koyasan.

Author : Allan Su Vlog



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