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  • 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, 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, your comprehensive, up-to-date travel guide, first-hand from Japan.

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  • about Japan.

  • Happy travels.

One of the most sacred places in all of Japan, Mount Koya is the center of the important

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Osaka Side Trip to Mt. Koya |

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    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
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