Mount Koya

Mount Koya:

Moutains on the way to Koyasan in Wakayama

Moutains on the way to Koyasan in Wakayama

Mount Koya  is the name of mountains in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka. Also, Kōya-san is a modifying word for Kongobu-ji . There is no mountain officially called Koya-san in Japan. Mount Koya is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), one of Japan’s most significant religious figures. Kobo Daishi began construction on the original Garan temple complex in 826 after wandering the country for years in search of a suitable place to center his religion.  Mt. Koya is primarily known as the world headquarters of the Koyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Located in an 800 m high valley amid the eight peaks of the mountain (which was the reason this location was selected, in that the terrain is supposed to resemble a lotus plant), the original monastery has grown into the town of Koya, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims.

In 2004, UNESCO designated Mt. Koya, along with two other locations on the Kii Peninsula, Yoshino and Omine; and Kumano Sanzan, as World Heritage Sites “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.

The complex includes a memorial hall and cemetery honoring Japanese who were imprisoned or executed for committing atrocities during World War II.

Places Not To Miss:

  • Temple Lodging (Shukubo):
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  • Okunoin Temple:
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  • Kongobuji Temple:
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  • Garan:
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