"Sacred Tourism" Top 5 Page for this destination Koyasan by CO-Chad

Koyasan Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 137 photos

Mountains, monks and more

Koysan is a world heritage site (as frequent road signs will remind you) and the center of Shingon Buddhism. The mountain is filled with beautiful temples and an amazing cemetery. It's also kind of fun to see monks go by on their bicylces while chatting on their cell phones. The scenic train trip is worth the ticket price before ever arriving, but you'll be glad when you finally do reach the top.

Entering the gate

Since we took the Nankai cable car to Koyasan station (see Transportation tips), Daimon was not actually the first thing we saw, but it was the first site we wanted to visit. "Mon" literally means "gate" and Dai-mon is the entry to Koyasan. "Okunoin" literally means "house at the back," and I'd recommend seeing it last, especially if you plan to walk through what is Japan's largest cemetery. We did, and I can recommend the view. Although my travelling companion was wary of the Yuurei (ghosts) inhabiting the forest, we enjoyed the walk.

Well worth it

OK, I admit I'm a cheapskate. I usually resent paying $10 to peek behind the wall at the rock where some famous personage is supposed to have done some famous thing. And I'm not paying the extra $10 to have my picture taken next to the rock. But I paid to enter Kongobuji (normally 500 yen, but just 400 with my discount coupon), and I must admit the gardens are amazing. Plus, the coupon entitled me to a cup of tea, so I was satisfied.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Historic temples and beautiful mountain forests
  • Cons:Surprisingly heavy car traffic
  • Last visit to Koyasan: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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