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Mt. Kōya

As the resting place of Kōbō Daishi, Mt. Kōya is the start and end point of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Mt. Kōya

Mount Kōya is a huge temple complex in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Ōsaka. The main temple here is Kongōbu-ji, headquarters of the Kōyasan Shingon school of Buddhism. Mt. Kōya is the start and end point for the Shikoku Pilgrimage, for those who can afford the extra time and travel.

Mt. Kōya was first settled in 819 by the monk Kukai who chose the site since the 800 m high plain surrounded by eight mountain peaks resembled a lotus plant, which is a Buddhist symbol. Today Kōya is home to a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 sub-temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims.

Kongōbu-ji was built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi for the funerary services of his mother. Danjogaran forms the heart of the Mt. Kōya complex. It has a main hall, several pagodas, a scripture storehouse, a bell tower, a lecture hall, and other halls dedicated to important deities, as well as a Shintō shrine. Standing right in the middle of Kōyasan is the Konpon Daitō, the Basic Great Pagoda that according to Shingon doctrine represents the central point of a mandala covering all of Japan.

Sannō-dō is an assembly hall for ceremonies dedicated to the Shinto gods of the area. Okunoin is the mausoleum of Kūkai, surrounded by a huge graveyard. Kūkai is said to be still alive in the mausoleum and meditating for the good of mankind. Since his non-departure, he’s referred to as Kōbō Daishi. Kōyasan Choishi-Michi is the traditional route up the mountain with stone markers at intervals. Daimon is the great main gate to the Mount Kōya complex.

A cable car takes you up and down the mountain in about five minutes.

Information

Name in Japanese: 高野山

Pronunciation: kōyasan

Address: Koyasan, Kōya, Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture 648-0211

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