Mount Koya
is the name of mountains in Wakayama Prefecture
Wakayama Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located on the Kii Peninsula in the Kansai region on Honshū island. The capital is the city of Wakayama.- History :Present-day Wakayama is mostly the western part of the province of Kii.- 1953 Wakayama Prefecture flood disaster :...

 to the south of Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

. Also, Kōya-san is a modifying word for Kongōbuji (金剛峯寺). There is no one mountain officially called Kōya-san (高野山) in Japan.

First settled in 819 by the monk Kūkai
Kūkai , also known posthumously as , 774–835, was a Japanese monk, civil servant, scholar, poet, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" school of Buddhism. Shingon followers usually refer to him by the honorific titles of and ....

, Mt. Kōya is primarily known as the world headquarters of the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Located in an 800 m high valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

 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
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 has grown into the town of Kōya
Koya, Wakayama
is a town located on a plateau atop Mt. Koya in Ito District, Wakayama, Japan. The town is known as the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism....

, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims. The mountain is home to the following famous sites:
  • Okunoin (奥の院), the mausoleum of Kūkai
    Kūkai , also known posthumously as , 774–835, was a Japanese monk, civil servant, scholar, poet, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" school of Buddhism. Shingon followers usually refer to him by the honorific titles of and ....

    , surrounded by an immense graveyard (the largest in Japan)
  • Danjogaran (壇上伽藍), a heartland of Mt. Kōya.
    • Konpon Daitō (根本大塔), a pagoda
      A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

       that according to Shingon doctrine represents the central point of a mandala
      Maṇḍala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point...

       covering not only Mt. Kōya but all of Japan
  • Kongōbu-ji
    Kongōbuji is the ecclesiastic head temple of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism, located on , Wakayama prefecture, Japan. Its name means Temple of the Diamond Mountain...

    (金剛峯寺), the head temple of the Kōyasan Shingon Buddhism
  • Kōyasan chōishi-michi
    Kōyasan chōishi-michi
    is a twenty-four kilometre path with a stone marker every 109 metres leading to Kōyasan, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. Created by Kūkai and within the , it forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.-Route:The path leads from Jison-in...

    , the traditional route up the mountain

In 2004, UNESCO designated Mt. Kōya, along with two other locations on the Kii Peninsula
Kii Peninsula
The is the largest peninsula on the island of Honshū in Japan. The area south of the “Central Tectonic Line” is called Nankii , and includes the most poleward living coral reefs in the world due to the presence of the warm Kuroshio Current, though these are threatened by global warming and human...

, Yoshino and Omine; and Kumano Sanzan, as World Heritage Sites "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the Kii Peninsula in Japan.- Selection criteria :...



The mountain is accessible primarily by the Nankai Electric Railway
Nankai Electric Railway
is a private railway in Japan. IC cards are accepted.Nankai Railway Company was founded on June 16, 1884, then became one of the companies that merge to form Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. in 1944. However Kin-nichi transferred the former Nankai Railway Company Lines to present Nankai Electric...

 from Namba Station
Namba Station
-Layout:Midōsuji Line*an island platform and a side platform with 2 tracksSennichimae Line*an island platform with 2 tracksYotsubashi Line*an island platform with 2 tracks-Adjacent stations:-Surroundings:*Takashimaya*Namba City...

 (in Osaka) to Gokurakubashi Station
Gokurakubashi Station
is a train station in Kōya-town, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.-Lines:*Nankai Electric Railway**Kōya Line**Cable Line-Koya Line:for and *There are 3 dead-end platforms with 4 tracks.-Cable Line:*There are 2 dead-end platforms with a track....

 at the base of the mountain. A cable car from Gokurakubashi then whisks visitors to the top in 5 minutes. The entire trip takes about 1.5 hours on an express train or 2 hours by non-express. Traffic by vehicle can be terrible on weekends until well into the evening. On weekdays, the mountain offers a pleasant drive followed by the excitement upon reaching the monasteries lining the summit. Many Buddhist monasteries on the mountain function as hotels for visitors providing traditional accommodation with an evening meal and breakfast.

See also

  • Mount Ōmine
    Mount Omine
    , is a sacred mountain in Nara, Japan, famous for its three tests of courage.Officially known as , it is more popularly known as Mount Ōmine due to its prominence in the Ōmine mountain range...

  • Tourism in Japan
    Tourism in Japan
    Tourism in Japan attracted 8.3 million foreign visitors in 2008, slightly more than Singapore and Ireland. Japan has 16 World Heritage Sites, including Himeji Castle and Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto . Kyoto receives over 30 million tourists annually...

External links

Further reading

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