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Overview

Retreat to the mountains of Koyasan for an incredible spiritual experience. Travel by scenic cable car to the UNESCO-Heritage centre of Shingon Buddhism. Explore some of the site’s one hundred temples, witness monks chanting early morning prayers and wander through the remarkable, historic cemetery.

Trip Highlights

Mountaintop Temple Retreat

Tap in to Shingon Buddhism

Learn about the 1200-year-old religion while visiting spiritual shrines and witnessing the early morning chants of local monks. 

Enjoy a scenic cable car ride

Take a short but scenic ride from Koya valley up the steep mountainside and enjoy fabulous views of the surroundings. 

Explore Okuno-in

Take a walk through Japan’s largest cemetery, admiring the mausoleums of famous Japanese citizens and prominent monks including Kobo Daishi.

Itinerary

1

Arrival in Koyasan

Nankai Namba Station (in Osaka) to Koyasan Station: approx. 1 h 45 min Start (guided tour): upon arrival at Koyasan Station (around 11:30) Duration: 4 h *including pick-up/drop-off and transit times

Home to over 100 temples, Koyasan has been the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect, for over 1,200 years. Koyasan, and its vicinity, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

The journey to Koyasan is one of the highlights of the visit, with the final ascent being on a cable car, which offers one of the most scenic journeys in Japan as it winds its way up to the mountains.

Meet the guide at Koyasan Station and spend the afternoon exploring a couple of popular sites that give insight to Japanese Buddhism.

Visit Kongobuji, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism, home to Japan’s largest rock garden. On rare occasions, small groups of worshippers led by a monk chant scripts in front of the temple.

Continue on to Okuno-in, Japan’s largest cemetery that holds the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. The classic approach starts from Ichino Hashi Bridge and stretches up to 2km, filled with more than 200,000 tombstones that belong to feudal lords, prominent monks, and even well-known Japanese companies. Gokasho Offering Hall, Torodo Hall of Lanterns, and Kobo Daishi’s Mausoleum are located at the end of the trail.

Afterwards, guests are escorted to their shukubo (temple lodge), where the famous Buddhist cuisine is served.

Overnight at Koyasan

2

Departure from Koyasan

Today is a self-guided day.

Suggestion:

To have a complete experience of Koyasan, joining the Morning Prayer, which usually starts at 06:00, is highly recommended. Be immersed in the calming chants of the monks inside the prayer hall (prayers are only in Japanese but some priests provide a simple explanation in English at the end of the ceremony).

Afterwards, proceed to the dining room for a shojin ryori breakfast.

The rest of the day is at leisure until check-out time.

Important Information

Our Services Include:

  • Accommodation in a temple lodge (room share, Japanese-style with futon, half board)
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

Round trip limited express train tickets to Koya-san

  • English-speaking guide on Day 1 (4 hrs)
  • All entrance fees and transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary on Day 1

Our Services Do Not Include:

  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately)
  • Some local transport (e.g. some local city buses, taxi transfers, etc.)
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone, and other expenditures of a personal nature)
  • Travel insurance (please see below)
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

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