Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles One of the most sacred places in all of Japan, Mount Koya is the center of the important Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and stands stoically on the Kii Peninsula to the south of Osaka. Not only does this mountain boast an abundance of natural beauty, but the secluded hilltop temple town is a charming escape from the busy city, and also a great place to experience an overnight temple stay. And on this trip, that's exactly what we'll be doing. I'm Sam Evans staff writer for japan-guide.com, and over the next two days I'm on assignment on Mount Koya. Here's the plan: Starting in Osaka, we'll ride on Nankai railways all the way from Namba Station in central Osaka to the Koyasan Cablecar with one transfer along the way. After riding the Koysan Cablecar up the mountain, we'll take a bus to the center of town and walk through Japan's largest cemetery to the famous Okunoin Temple. To end the first day we'll get a taste of the monastic life by staying overnight at Ekoin Temple. On Day 2, after experiencing some morning temple rituals including a fire ceremony, we'll walk to Kongobuji and Garan, two historic and important Shingon temple complexes. Finally we'll take a brief hike from Daimon Gate along one of the area's many pilgrimage trails, before taking a bus back to the cablecar and returning to Osaka. So follow along as we go on a short side-trip from Osaka to Mount Koya Day 1 So we've just arrived on Mt. Koya and the first spot that we're going to visit today is Okunoin which contains the largest cemetery in all of Japan. Now, the reason that so many of the deceased are represented in here is because everyone wants to be close to Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. And it is said that he is resting in eternal meditation in the mausoleum in the rear of this complex. So let's go and check it out. We've just arrived at Gobyobashi Bridge that leads to the sacred precincts of KoboDaishi's mausoleum. It's customary to bow before crossing the bridge. Also, beyond the bridge is held as so sacred that we can no longer film. Our next stop is at Ekoin Temple where we'll be staying the night. Before dinner we'll participate in two traditional temple activities, namely sutra copying and mediation. So, I've just got to the room and I'm going to enjoy a temple dinner. Now, temple stays are typically simple, but as you can see the accommodations are very nice as well. Visitors can expect to get their own room but will likely have to share other amenities like toilets and baths. So we've got some tempura, some nabe which is Japanese hot pot, some gomadofu and some fruit which is all vegetarian and it looks delicious. Day 2 As part of the temple stay experience, before breakfast we'll observe a morning prayer service followed by a traditional fire ritual. We've arrived this morning at Kongobuji, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism. And it's home to an array of beautiful features including Banryutei, which is the largest rock garden in all of Japan. So the garden's rock formations are meant to represent two guardian dragons that are emerging from a sea of clouds. So we've just arrived at Garan, another of Koyasan's most prominent religious sites. And the temple's most impressive features are the Kondo Hall and Konpon Daito Pagoda. Daimon Gate behind me is the traditional entrance to Koyasan, and around Mount Koya there is a substantial network of trails. Today we're going to start here, and we're going to walk over to Nyonindo along a portion of the Women Pilgrims route and this part of the trail network is great for people like us who don't have a lot of time. So let's get on with it. Finishing the short pilgrimage trail, we'll take the bus back to Koyasan station, from where it's a short cable car ride to the Nankai train lines which will take us back to Osaka where our trip will come to an end. Thanks for joining me. I hope this video has been enjoyable and perhaps even inspires some ideas, should you be planning a trip in the Kansai region. For more information or to watch another video, click the links on the screen now, or head over to Japan-Guide.com, your comprehensive, up-to-date travel guide, first-hand from Japan. Thanks for watching, be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell for more videos about Japan. Happy travels.