Mount Koya is Japan’s outspoken pilgrimage route consisting of small temples, shrines, and a fascinating Buddhist community. It is a lofty settlement run by a religious moving force at its core. And, it is one of the most impressive spiritual complexes in East Asia. Alongside over 100 monasteries and temples, a large cedar forest bestows a dusky hue to the site. Visit Mount Koya on a clear day, and you will watch the sun rays give way to playful patterns in the air. Touring the site is an intoxicating experience. The darkest corners of the woods are home to invaluable sights waiting for curious travelers.
In the mist-shrouded Mount Koya, Kongobuji Temple is like an irresistible sun that illuminates the darkness. It is the chief temple of Shingon Buddhism and a long-time favorite among travelers who come to Mount Koya for some serene sightseeing. The temple is also famous for being home to the largest rock garden in Japan, the Banryutei Rock Garden. A solemn place of meditation, it features rocks from the birthplace of the founder of Shingon Buddhism. In stark contrast with the luster of the temple, Koya’s most popular attraction, Okunoin Cemetery, is bewitchingly dark and foreboding. The cemetery has its appeal at all times of the day. But, take a stroll in the evening when its true spirit unravels under the dim lights of traditional lanterns.
If not for its numerous attractions, Mount Koya is most famous for its iconic shukubo temple lodgings. Spend one night at these ambient mountain inns, and you will experience the austere life of a monk unlike anywhere else. Morning prayers are heartfelt, the vegetarian cuisine is a delight, and life, overall, is perfectly tranquil in the mountains.
Mount Koya Gallery
Tours visiting Mount Koya
Highlights of Japan