Mount Koya (Koyasan)

Koyasan has, for over a thousand years, been an important religious center for Japanese Buddhism. Kobo Daishi built his first temple, Garan, here. Many more temples would follow. Even now, the mountain is a popular pilgrimage spot, but the way has become somewhat simpler with the advent of cars.

 

Places to visit in Koyasan

Danjo Garan

Danjo Garan came into being after one of Japan’s most prominent religious figures, Kobo Daishi, selected the site for his first temple in Japan after returning from China. Legend has it that before he returned, he had thrown his sankosho (a kind of religious artefact) toward Japan. He later found it lodged in a pine tree on the grounds of what would become the Danjo Garan. The pine tree the garan fell still grows in the temple.

 

Kongobuji

Kongobu-ji Temple was commissioned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to commemorate his mother after her death. A recent addition to the temple is a large rock garden fashioned after two dragons emerging from the clouds.

 

Okunoin

The mausoleum of Japan’s most revered religious figure, Kobo Daishi, is one of the most sacred places in Japan. Tombstones of thousands line the paths and walks around the temple. Feudal lords and Japanese historical figures, regardless of their allegiances in life,  chose this area as their final resting place so they might be closer to Kobo Daishi and receive salvation.