Introduction to Koyasan

Introduction to Koyasan
Koyasan, also known as Mount Koya is regarded as the center of Japanese Shingon Buddhism which is an important sect of that religion that was first introduced into the country by Kobo Daishi in 805. From these humble beginnings a small town has developed around the forested mountaintop of Koyasan. The historical attractions here as well as the natural outdoor surroundings make it a favored relaxing retreat that is enjoyed by many from across Japan and from overseas.

Why you should visit Koyasan

Here you can view the mausoleum dedicated to Kobo Daishi and the temples that remain today from more than 100 that have been built among the streets of the settlement. During a visit to Koyasan the most important sites you should visit include the highly recommended attraction of the mausoleum at Okunoin and the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism at its leading temple of Kongobuji. Garan is where you will find the central temple complex in Koyasan, while the Reihokan Museum has on display the local cultural treasures. Another attraction that draws in many visitors which I am sure you will like is the pilgrimage trails, a series of walking and hiking trails around the area. You should not try to rush your visit here. Instead plan an overnight stay at a temple lodge where you can experience the lifestyle of the monks by eating with them and attending their morning prayers. There are numerous temples that offer this service for both pilgrims and visitors. It is a more enriching experience for you to enjoy your stay than to book into a hotel overnight.

Koyasan Travel Guide

https://www.nankaikoya.jp/en/index.html

Why you should visit Koyasan

Here you can view the mausoleum dedicated to Kobo Daishi and the temples that remain today from more than 100 that have been built among the streets of the settlement. During a visit to Koyasan the most important sites you should visit include the highly recommended attraction of the mausoleum at Okunoin and the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism at its leading temple of Kongobuji. Garan is where you will find the central temple complex in Koyasan, while the Reihokan Museum has on display the local cultural treasures. Another attraction that draws in many visitors which I am sure you will like is the pilgrimage trails, a series of walking and hiking trails around the area. You should not try to rush your visit here. Instead plan an overnight stay at a temple lodge where you can experience the lifestyle of the monks by eating with them and attending their morning prayers. There are numerous temples that offer this service for both pilgrims and visitors. It is a more enriching experience for you to enjoy your stay than to book into a hotel overnight.

Getting to Koyasan

Koyasan is easily reached by train from the city of Osaka by taking the Nankai Koya line to the terminal station of Gokurakubashi which takes 80 minutes by a direct express train (5 trains each day, at a cost of 1650 yen), or 100 minutes including a change of trains at Hashimoto with trains departing every 20 or 30 minutes at a cost of 870 yen. At the Gokurakubashi station you can take the cable-car to Koyasan, this takes around five minutes and costs 390 yen, it is then a further ten minutes by bus into the center of Koyasan. Pedestrians are not permitted to walk along the street connecting the bus station and the town center.
This coming winter the cable-car will be closed from November 26, 2018 until the end of February 2019 for an upgrade in the service. Buses will instead be in operation along this route.Koyasan is located about 1000 meters above sea level. You will like the town itself as it is relatively flat and is easily explored on foot. Most of the attractions are found in the town center so are easily reached. The mausoleum at Okunoin is a little further away at the eastern end of the town while at the opposite western end of the town you will find the Daimon Gate, the traditional point for pilgrims starting or ending their journeys to and from here on foot.

Map of Koyasan

Link to Google Map https://goo.gl/maps/VAUPVgdrbxQ2

Audio Guides

The central tourist information center in Koyasan has some excellent quality audio guides available in five languages (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French and English) that are highly recommended for just 500 yen. They are available for you to use any time between 8.30am and 4.30pm and should be returned by the following morning. The guides offer explanations in detail on all the locations you are likely to visit during your stay in Koyasan and helps in making your visit a more enjoyable one.

Passes and Tickets

There are several combinations of tickets available from a one day bus pass, a combination ticket and the Koyasan World Heritage Ticket. This latter ticket (one which I highly recommend) costs 2860 yen that includes a round trip ticket from Osaka, unlimited bus travel in Koyasan as well as discounted admission to the major attractions. It is valid for two consecutive days which is enough time for you to enjoy your stay in this relaxing retreat in the mountains.

Access to Koyasan

https://www.nankaikoya.jp/en/stations/ Video of Koyasan

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