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Introducing Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture

This video, titled "聖地|和歌山県高野山 / Sacred place Koyasan, Wakayama" was created by "Hiraku KAWASHIMA." It introduces Koyasan a sacred place for Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, registered as a World Heritage Site.

Koyasan is located in Wakayama, in Japan's Kansai region. It is a sacred place for Japanese Buddhism, opened by Kobo Daishi Kukai at the beginning of the Heian period 794 AD - 1185 AD), more than 1200 years ago.
In this video, you'll see some of the highlights of Koyasan in just 2 minutes worth of footage. Please enjoy the video and be sure to take notes on whatever interests you as well!


Image of Koyasan Danjo Garan Hasuike (Lotus Pond)
Photo:Koyasan Danjo Garan Hasuike (Lotus Pond)

Koyasan is a region in Koya, Ito District, in the northern part of Wakayama Prefecture. It is surrounded by 1,000 meter tall mountains at an altitude of about 800 meters.
Koyasan as a place name is a flat basin-shaped area surrounded by eight peaks: Imagi peak, Hoju peak, Mt. Hachibuse, Mt. Benten, Mt. Koya, Mt. Tenjiku, Mt. Youriyu, Mt. Mani, and Mt. Tenjiku all make up Mt. Koyasan.
Koyasan is a Zen Buddhist seminary opened by Kobo Daishi Kukai and is a sacred place for Japanese Buddhism.

Today, it is a religious city centered around the fundamental dojo "Danjo Garan," the precinct for religious practices. Danjo Garan, one of the two most sacred places along with Okunoin, can be seen from 0:27 in the video.

In 2004, twelve buildings along the Koyasan-cho Ishimichi and Kongo-buji Temple precincts (six districts), along with Kumano Hongu Taisha, Wakayama Prefecture, Yoshinoyama Nara Prefecture, and Ominesan Nara Prefecture, were registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In 2016, the Koya Pilgrimage Route, Kuroco Road, Nyonin Road, Kyouosakamichi Fudouzaka, and Mitanizaka were registered as World Heritage Sites.
In 2015, the temple's 1200 year ceremony was held, attracting many visitors.

In Koyasan, there are many events throughout the year, but the ritual that has been going on every day for 1200 years is "living in nature." This is a ceremony where meals are delivered twice a day to the mausoleum where the spirit of Kukai is enshrined.

Koyasan is a sightseeing spot full of history. There are many places where you can enjoy Japanese sweets and food.
There are also educational facilities such as elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and universities on the premises of Koyasan.

Highlights of Koyasan

Image of Koyasan Kongobu-ji Temple
Photo:Koyasan Kongobu-ji Temple

The video introduces the facilities and temples located at Koyasan. All are within the precincts of Kongobuji Temple, the head temple of the Koyasan Shingon sect of Buddhism.
The admission fee for Kongobu-ji Temple is 500 yen for general admission, and 200 yen for elementary school students (※As of Nov. 2019).

Next up are some of the structures at Koyasan:
・Daimon (~0:03)
The large front gate sitting at roughly 25 meters tall. Designated as an important cultural property.
The video shows it lit up and very shiny.

・Danjo Garan (~0:27)
The main temple used for general activities. Registered as a National Historic Site and World Heritage Site.

・Konpon Daito (~0:31)
The first Tahoto (a form of Japanese pagoda) in Japan with a height of 48.5 meters. Built as a symbol of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism.
In the video, you can see the main tower shining under the night sky.

・Ichinohashi Bridge (~0:42)
There is an approximately 2 km approach from here to Kobou Daishi Mausoleum.

・Shoujoshin-in (~0:46)
Koyasan Bekkaku Honsan Shoujoushinin is a shukubo (accommodation facility) and temple that was built by Kukai and later rebuilt by Taira no Munemori.

・Kongobu-ji Temple (~0:50)
Koyasan Shingon Buddhism is the headquarters of Koyasan. There are many attractions such as the largest rock garden "Banryu Garden," and fusuma paintings by the Kano School.

・Okunoin (~0:53)
There are around 200,000 tombs belonging to the Imperial Family and Daimyo on the approach to the shrine. More than 60% of the graves belong to feudal lords of the warring states period.
Miroku stone, which is called the Seven Wonders of Koyasan. It is said to be a stone that fulfills spiritual desire, and that there is benefit when touched.
There is a tradition of paying a visit to this place to report on the completion of a pilgrimage to the 88 sacred places in Shikoku and to thank the pilgrims for their efforts.
There is also a legend that Kukai, 1,200 years after being enshrined at the temple, is still practicing as a living Buddha.

・Mizumuke Jizo (~1:04)
At the Jizo-son (the guardian deity of children), which stands along the banks of the Tamagawa River, sutra wood is offered to the god of Jizo to provide water for the ancestors of the deceased.

・Hasuike (~1:08)
It is said that the Buddha is enshrined here.

・Gobyo-bashi (Mausoleum Bridge) (~1:22)
The bridge closest to Kobou Daishi Mausoleum is a sanctuary, and photography is prohibited.

Although it is not introduced in the video, there is also the "Okunoin approach," "Kondo," "Meaye dou," "Onsha," "Ajimi Jizou," "Sengoku samurai memorial tower," "Tokugawa Family Reidai," "Kongo Sanmaiin," "Koyasan Reihokan, Kurukayado, Ichijoin, Corporate memorial monument, and Hokiin which was built by Kangen.
There are also spots where you can get your shuin.

Summary of Koyasan

Image of a pilgrim

So what'd you think about the holy place, Koyasan? The video introduces just some of the interesting things about Koyasan.
Koyasan is also one of the most popular and powerful power spots in Japan.
You might even get some power from the video!

At Koyasan, you can stay in a shukubo, experience a devotional service, participate in religious events and meditation, and learn about sutras, poetry, and flower arranging, so you can feel the traditions of Koyasan.

◆ Koyasan overview information ◆
【Address] Kongobu-ji Temple 132, Koyasan, Koyacho, Ito-gun, Wakayama 648-0294, Japan
・ Train: Get off at Gokurakubashi Station on the Nankai Koya Line and walk from Koyasan Station on the Nankai Koyasan Cable
・ By car: Approximately 2 hours from the center of Osaka, the nearest expressway exit “Hanwa Expressway Wakayama IC and Minamihanna Road Habikino IC
【Admission fee】Kongobu-ji Temple: General: ¥ 500 / Elementary school student: ¥ 200 (※as of December 2019)
【Hours】Kongobu-ji Temple 8: 30-17: 00
【Closures】Open daily
【Parking】There are many parking lots in the neighborhood, but please note that it is very crowded on the weekends.
【Phone number】Kongobu-ji Temple 0736-56-2011

【Official Website】Koyasan Shingon Sect Main Temple Kongobu-ji


Written By
Last Updated : Nov. 3, 2020
A writer who loves Japan
Koyasan, Wakayama Prefecture: A Sacred Place for Japanese Buddhism, With 1200 Years of History! One of Japan's Foremost Power Spots Is a Legendary Place Filled With Temples and Historical Buildings!
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