Train Trip in Kansai: Koyasan Experience Authentic Buddhist Culture by Lodging at a Temple in Koyasan

A trip to purify your body and soul at Koyasan; a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Koyasan; founded by Kobo Daishi, is one of Japanese Buddhism’s most sacred sites. This sightseeing spot was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 and awarded a 3-star rating in the Japanese-language version of the Michelin Travel Guide. It is also highly-praised by the tourists who visit. Using a tour ticket, this route allows you to experience Japanese Buddhist culture by spending the night in a temple.

(map) Osaka, Wakayama Osaka Wakayama

Nankai Electric Railway

Enjoy all the famous sites along the Nankai railway line like Koyasan and Sakai with the "NANKAI ALL LINE 2-Day Pass" that grants unlimited rides for two days.

Okuno-in Cemetery

Okuno-in Cemetery is one of the most important sacred sites of Koyasan, and is the place where Kukai is enshrined. The scenery along the approximately 2-kilometer long path from the Ichi-no-hashi Bridge to the Gobyo Mausoleum is unique to Koyasan. The path is lined with giant Japanese cedars, many of which are more than 400 years old, as well as over 200,000 memorial tombs.

Danjo Garan Sacred Temple Complex

In 816, Emperor Saga granted Kukai’s request to establish a center for his newfound Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. He traveled to what is now known as Koyasan and began construction of the Danjo Garan Temple Complex. Originally a central training ground for monks, this area still hosts various religious ceremonies to this very day.

Kongobu-ji Head Temple

This temple serves as the head temple of Koyasan’s Shingon Esoteric Sect of Buddhism. The temple building continues to operate as a site for training new monks, who will then continue on to serve in some 3,600 branch temples across Japan and overseas. Inside the temple there is plenty to see, including the Banryutei Rock Garden, which is Japan's largest rock garden.

Nintoku-tenno-ryo Kofun and Daisen Park

The Mozu-Furuichi Burial Mounds were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2019. Among them, the kofun (burial mound) of Emperor Nintoku is considered to be one of the top three tombs in the world. The tomb's keyhole shape when viewed from above is unique to Japan. The tomb dates back to the mid-5th century and is thought to have taken around 20 years to construct.

Tsuboichi Seicha Honpo Teahouse

This teahouse boasts a history going back 170 years and was founded in Sakai City, the birthplace of the great tea master Sen no Rikyu. The relaxing atmosphere of the teahouse is perfect for enjoying their incredible teas.

The Medetai Train on the Kada-Sakana Line

This train features unique design motifs both inside and outside the train that are inspired by the port of Kada, which is famous for its tai (sea breams), and Awashima Shrine, which is known for its matchmaking powers. Just riding the train is sure to get you into an "omedetai" (celebratory) and "medetai" (cherishing) mood.

Awashima Shrine

Awashima Shrine is known for carrying out Shinto rituals for dolls. These include memorial services, known as kuyo, as well as the hina nagashi ritual, in which dolls are floated out to sea. The main hall of the Awashima Shrine is said to hold some 20,000 hina dolls for the kuyo memorial service.

Itinerary Map

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  • Approx. 2 hours 50 minutes by train and walk
  • 1 Approx. 30 minutes by bus and walk
  • 2 Approx. 5 minutes by walk
  • 3 Approx. 2 hours 45 minutes by train and walk
  • 4 Approx. 35 minutes by train and walk
  • 5 Approx. 1 hour 10 minutes by train and walk
  • 6 Approx. 45 minutes by train and walk
  • 7 Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes by train and walk
  • Please refer to the travel time as a guide

How to Get There

Kansai International Airport and Osaka Itami Airport provide convenient access to the Kansai area. There are lots of flights to both of these airports from Tokyo.


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