Koyasan 高野山

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Mount Koya: A religious city with age-old traditions

Arguably the most mystical of Japan's sacred mountains, Koyasan cannot be described but must be experienced. A religious city long closed in on itself, its hostel temples and necropolis forest are an invitation to spirituality.

Pilgrimage and tourism at Mount Koya

Koyasan has been open to tourism since the mid-20th century. Shukubo temples, previously reserved for pilgrims, were soon transformed into hotels with rooms equipped with televisions, and became extremely popular. The commodification of the sacred has not spared Mount Koya, and it's not uncommon to come across monks in cassocks out shopping in their luxury cars. Today, the accommodations on Mount Koya quickly sell out in spring and autumn.

Yet the spirit of Koyasan is still very much alive. Even caught up in modernity, the community still lives timelessly. The local specialty, gomadofu, is still made according to the oldest traditions at the Hamadaya store, and in 2004, the town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even malicious tongues cannot deny the unique and deeply spiritual experience of a stay in Koyasan. After a day or a year, it's impossible to put your feet back on the ground unchanged.

Les moines de Koyasan

The monks of Koyasan

Hanna Eberhard on Unsplash

Getting around Koyasan

  • By bus

There are local bus services between the cable car station and Ichi-no-hashi, included in the"Koyasan World Heritage Ticket".
Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle in Koyasan, with services offered by the local tourist office.

  • By car

To discover Koyasan and the surrounding Kumano Kodo region, car rental is an excellent option. You can rent cars at Nanki-Shirahama airport and Kii-Tanabe station. Please note that in Japan, it is not possible to use a foreign driver's license directly. However, a license translation service is available, with Japan Experience, to facilitate car rental. The journey from Kii-Tanabe station to Koyasan takes around three hours.

Koyasan, Wakayama

Koyasan, Wakayama

Laurent Gence on Unsplash

Our activities in Koyasan

  • Duration : 4 hour
  • Location : Koyasan
  • Duration : 1 hour
  • Location : Koyasan
Discover all our activities in Koyasan (2)

Our tours in Koyasan

  • Duration : 14 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Hiroshima, Osaka, Koyasan, Kyoto
  • Duration : 15 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Kawaguchiko, Matsumoto, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Koyasan, Osaka
  • Duration : 15 days
  • Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Koyasan, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, Tokyo
See all our Tours (3)