Mount Koya, or Koyasan in Japanese, is the centre of Shingon Buddhism and a small, peaceful temple town has been built around the sect’s mountaintop headquarters. Pilgrims and tourists alike travel to Koyasan to experience an overnight stay at a shukubo, a temple lodging where you can try living like the Buddhist monks do.
From Koyasan Station, take a 10 minute bus or taxi to Koyasan’s town centre. Be aware you cannot walk along the street between the cable car station and the town centre.
Once you’re in the town centre it is easy to navigate, as many of the temples are all close to each other. For example, Garan temple, Kongobuji and the Reihokan Museum are all in the town centre, only a short walk away from the Senjuinbashi intersection.
Among the main attractions, only Okunoin is outside the town centre, on the east side. On the western side stands Daimon Gate, the traditional point of entry to Koyasan.
There are 3 bus routes through the town: the main line connects Koyasan Station with Okunoin, the second connects Koyasan Station with Daimon Gate, and the third connects Daimon Gate with Okunoin. All bus lines pass the Senjuinbashi intersection at the centre of town, where the Koyasan Tourist Information Center is located.
For those interested in renting audio guides, you can rent them from the Tourist Information Center for only 500 yen. They provide 90 minutes of accompanying commentary in English, French, Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
Read more about Koyasan HERE.