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One of Japanese most important sacred place “Koya-san”

 2016/02/06 Travel in Japan   13 Views

About Koya-san

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Mount koya( or Koya-san ) is the name of mountains in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka. Also, Koya-san is a modifying word for the famous temple, Kongobu-ji. There is no mountain officially called Kōya-san in Japan.

First settled in 819 by the monk Kukai, one of Japan’s most significant religious figures, Mt. Koya is primarily known as the world headquarters of the Koyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Located in an 800 m high valley amid the eight peaks of the mountain (which was the reason this location was selected, in that the terrain is supposed to resemble a lotus plant), the original monastery has grown into the town of Koya, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims.

In 2004, UNESCCO designated Mt. Kōya, along with two other locations on the Kii Peninsula , Yoshino and Omine; and Kumano Sanzan, as World Heritage Sites”Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.

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Garan

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Legend has it that Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddism, threw his sankosho ( a double ended, three pronged Buddist ceremonial tool) from China, where he had been studying toward Japan. Back in Japan, while in search of a place to headquarter his new religion, he came across his sankosho stuck in the branches of a pine tree on Koya-san and started construction of the Garan, Koyasan’s central temple complex. The pine tree, that caught the sankosho, is still growing there.

The two most prominent buildings of the Garan are the Kondo Hall and the huge konpon Daitopagoda.

 

Kongobuji

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Kongobuji was originally constructed in 1593 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to commemorate the death of his mother.  Later it was merged with a neighboring temple and reorganized into head temple of Shingon Buddhism.

Behind the building is the Banryutei Rock Garden, the largest rock garden in Japan.

 

Okunoin

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Okunoin is the site of the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. Okunobo is one of the most sacred places in Japan and popular pilgrimage spot.

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Pilgrimage Trails

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As popular pilgrimage destination for centuries, Koya-san has been connected to the outside world by a network of pilgrimage trails.  While most visitors enter the mountain by cablecar these days, many of the pilgrimage trails still exist and remain in use by hikers who prefer the traditional approach.

 

Shukubo

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Koya-san is also one of the best places to experience an overnight stay at a temple lodging( shukubo )where you can get a taste of monk’s lifestyle, eating vegetarian monk’s cuisine(shojin ryori) and attending the morning prayers.  Around fifty temples offer this service to both pilgrims and visitors. Unlike in other parts of Japan, the temples on Koya-san are accustomed to foreign guests and can be reserved relatively easily through Japanese Guest Houses, Japanican or by email or fax via the tourist association. The typical sost for a stay is between 9,000 and 15,000 yen per person and night, including dinner and breakfast.  Most temples accept cash only.

Summary

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Mount koya( or Koya-san ) is the name of mountains in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka.

First settled in 819 by the monk Kukai, one of Japan’s most significant religious figures, Mt. Koya is primarily known as the world headquarters of the Koyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism.

In 2004, UNESCCO designated Mt. Kōya, along with two other locations on the Kii Peninsula , Yoshino and Omine; and Kumano Sanzan, as World Heritage Sites”Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.

Garan is the place where Kobo Daishi started construction of the Koyasan’s central temple complex.

Kongobuji now is merged with a neighboring temple and reorganized into head temple of Shingon Buddhism.

Okunoin is the site of the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. Okunobo is one of the most sacred places in Japan and popular pilgrimage spot.

Pilgrimage Trails

As popular pilgrimage destination for centuries, Koya-san has been connected to the outside world by a network of pilgrimage trails.

Koya-san is also one of the best places to experience an overnight stay at a temple lodging( shukubo )where you can get a taste of monk’s lifestyle, eating vegetarian monk’s cuisine(shojin ryori) and attending the morning prayers.

Sponsored Link


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