Best Places to Visit in Koyasan
Here are maps and brief descriptions of the main attractions in Koyasan (Mount Koya).
Koyasan is a religious city founded by Kobo-Daishi Kukai over 1200 years ago in the early Heian Period. It is located in a basin on top of a mountain at an altitude of around 800 meters above sea level. Koyasan is the home of "esoteric Buddhism" along with Lhasa in Tibet. Furthermore, it is designated as a World Heritage site as a valuable historical site that concentrates the history of Japan from ancient to modern times. It is a "holy place" not only for believers of Shingon Buddhism, but also for those interested in history.
Highlights of central Koyasan
Below is a schematic map of central Koyasan. Particularly important spots are labeled in red.
The highlights of each are listed below in the order of their importance as historical sites (not necessarily in line with their religious importance). to enlarge the map. To the of that is an introduction that summarizes each of the features in a few words. the button further below it to jump to the explanation page. Table of Contents
Kukai expressed his esoteric Buddhist philosophy in a group of temple complexes. It is a magnificent "mandala". Route to visit Danjo Garan
This is a place of supreme sanctity where Kukai and warlords have been waiting together for the "time of redemption". Thorough guide to "Okuno-in(the inner sanctuary)" of Koyasan, where Japanese history is concentrated.
This temple, which houses the national treasure "Tahoto" (pagoda of many treasures), was the base of the "mastermind" who ran the Kamakura shogunate. Learn about the history of the Kamakura period at the World Heritage Site "Kongo-samai-in
The Tokugawa shoguns who did not go to Okuno-in(the inner sanctuary) actually had a deep connection with esoteric Buddhism! Explore the relationship between Tokugawa Ieyasu and esoteric Buddhism at the Tokugawake Reidai, the "Nikko Toshogu of the West".
The main entrance to Koyasan, a sacred site.The "A-Un" Niou statues are magnificent. Highlights and Historical Background of "Daimon
The center of the Koyasan Shingon sect.It is also the final resting place of the "Tragic Sekihaku". Kongobuji
Koyasan Museum, which houses some of the greatest treasures of Buddhist art, including a group of Buddhist statues by Unkei and Kaikei. Koyasan Reihokan, a treasure house of esoteric Buddhism art
What prayers did the women offer to the "forbidden sanctuary"? Nyonindo
These seven Benten shrines tell the story of what hardships and innovations Kukai went through when he founded Koyasan. A trip to the "Seven Benten Temples of Koya," which retain vestiges of Kukai's time
Fudoin & Bifukumonin Mausoleum
Bifukumonin greatly influenced history with her beauty and brilliance. Why did she strongly desire to be buried in Koyasan? Fudoin, where Bifukumonin, "the woman who ended the Heian Era," is buried
Kiyotaka Inari Shrine
A power spot for those in the know. The history of this Inari shrine shows how esoteric Buddhism and Inari worship were deeply connected. The "Kiyotaka Inari Shrine" conveys the deep relationship between esoteric Buddhism and the Inari faith.
Kangakuin was created by the most important person in the mid Kamakura period.The history of its relocation reveals the path leading to the "Kenmu no Shinsei". The Fall of the Kamakura Shogunate as deciphered from Kangakuin in Danjo Garan
Rokuji no Kane Bell Tower
The bell tower was built by Fukushima Masanori, a fierce general in the Warring States period, for his parents. Rokuji no Kane Bell Tower
The main street of Koyasan with many souvenir shops.The name comes from the Odawara Hojo clan. Odawara Street
Ujinao Hojo resided in his estate. This temple quietly watched over the end of the Warring States period. Takamuroin
The path of training or the love between father and son? This is the stage for the story of a father and son who suffered between the two. Karukayado
Koyasan Daishi Church
Missionary headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. Visitors can experience ascetic practices and sutra copying. Koyasan Daishi Church
Places to visit around Koyasan
Koyasan Choishimichi Pilgrimage Route
This is the approach to Koyasan, experiencing the atmosphere of Kukai's time. Guide of Koyasan Choishimichi Pilgrimage Route
This ancient and romantic World Heritage site offers an insight into the original Koyasan faith. Niutsuhime Shrine
This is where Kukai's mother, who was unable to enter Koyasan, lived. Jison-in, "Koyasan for Women"
This shrine shows that the temple and shrine were one in the age of Shintoism and Buddhism. Did God Protect the Temple's Territory? Niukanshofu-jinja Shrine
The starting point of the Machisekido. This place is associated with Kukai before the founding of Koyasan. "Temple older than Koyasan" where Kukai warded off evil spirits - Shoriji
Zenmyoshoin Temple (Sanadaan)
This is the place where the Sanada father and son stayed at their estate. "Sanada Yukimura (Nobushige)" set out for Osaka Castle from here. Sanada's haunt - Kudoyama