Sacred Mt. Koya
—the spirit of Japan
preserved by faith
Mt. Koya has been revered as a Buddhist monastery by a large number of people ever since it was founded by Kobo Daishi more than 1,100 years ago.
Home to many temples, pagodas, and buildings, the mountain has also become a popular sightseeing spot in recent years.
The origin of Mt. Koya
One of the most significant holy places for Japanese Buddhism, Mt. Koya was opened by Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon sect.
Surrounded by the Kii Mountain Range, this area of mountains and plains lies at an altitude of about 800 m, and stretches about 6 km from east to west and about 3 km from south to north. The then Emperor Saga gave the area to Kobo Daishi in the year 816, to create a Buddhist monastery and spread Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, a faith which promises to bring peace to the nation and the world, and happiness to the people.
Revered and respected by common people, the mountain continues to attract a large number of visitors even today. As part of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, the area was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2004.
Information on spots around Sekishoin
The approach to Okunoin Temple
A 2-minute walk from this temple
The approach from Ichi-no-Hashi Bridge to Okunoin Temple is about 2 km long, and is lined with Japanese cedar trees that are hundreds of years old. Beneath the trees, hundreds of thousands of gravestones and monuments from all eras stand as quiet witness to the lives of people from all over the country, ranging from common folk to feudal loads.View on Google Maps
Kongobuji Temple: The head temple
A 12-minute walk from this temple
It is said that Kobo Daishi got the name "Kongobuji" from the Buddhist sutra “Kongobu-rokaku-issai-yuga-yugi-kyo.”
Kongobuji Temple is the head temple of 4,000 Koyasan Shingon sect temples, and has 10 million adherents.
Dai Garan (Great Garan)
A 17-minute walk from this temple
Together with Okunoin Temple, Dai Garan (Great Garan) is one of the two most sacred places on Mt. Koya. Konpon Daito is the center of the site, and its other buildings include Miedo, Kondo, Saito (West Tower), Myojin Shrine, Fudodo, and Daiedo.View on Google Maps
Daimon (Great Gate)
A 28-minute walk from this temple
Daimon (Great Gate) is the main entrance to Mt. Koya. It faces the Kitan Strait and Kumano Mountain Range in the distance.
The gate is a 1705 reconstruction of the original. The two Deva King statues on each side of the gate were created by Uncho and Koi, sculptors of Buddhist statues who were active in the middle of the Edo period.