History of Koyasan

Kobo Daishi (Kukai) entered priesthood at the age of 20 and traversed to Tang Dynasty China in year 804 at the age of 31. Aiter mastering the teachings of esoteric Buddhism after about two years of staying in Changan, the capital pf Tang Dynasty China, he became the eighth person to earn the title Ajari Henjo Kongo, roughly translated as "Luminous Vajra Master". Upon returning to Japan, he began propagating Shingon Buddhism throughout the country. In the year 816, with land granted by the reigning Emperor, he founded the monastic complex at Koyasan. With its 117 temples, including Kongobu-ji Head Temple centering around Garan training complex and Okunoin, Koyasan prospered as the grand centre for Esoteric Buddhist practice and went on to become a mystic holy Site. The °Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range` were designated as the 12th World Heritage Site in Japan on July 7, 2004.

Sights to See around
Mount Koya (Koyasan)

Danjo Garan

Danjo Garan is a sacred area founded by Kukai (posthumously known as Kobo Daishi) as a place for the study of Shingon (Esoteric) Buddhism. The Kon-do Hall was constructed first, followed by the surrounding buildings. The erection of Konpon Daito required the greatest work among all the buildings. Many of the buildings you see now were reconstructed due to the loss of the originals because of fires caused by lightning, as lightning rods were unavailable in those days. The sole remaining original building is the Fudo-do, a designated national treasure.

Konpon Daito

Daito was constructed by Kobo Daishi (Kukai) as a center for the study of Shingon (Esoteric) Buddhism. In the center of this tower there is a statue of the "Universal Buddha" Dainichi Nyorai seated in the "Womb Mandala" Taizokai and surrounded by four protector Buddhas from the "Diamond World" Kongokai. This is a unique three-dimensional mandala that is comprised of statues and brilliant paintings covering both the tower's walls and its 16 massive columns.

Kondo Hall

The main hall at Koyasan, located in the center of the Danjo Garan temple complex. Established in 819 by the monk Kobo Daishi (Kukai), the mountain’s key ceremonies are performed here. The current building was rebuilt in 1932, and is dedicated to the deity Ashuku Nyorai (or Yakushi Nyorai, according to one theory), whose hibutsu (“hidden Buddha”) is also found here.

Kongobuji Temple

Originally built in 1593 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi for his late mother, this building was known as Seiganji Temple, then later renamed Kongobuji Temple after merging with the neighboring Kozanji Temple. As the head temple of the Koyasan Shingon sect, it is in charge of the religious affairs for all of Koyasan.


Over 200,000 tombstones and Buddhist memorials called stupas of people including famous samurai lords line up along with giant, several hundred year old Japanese cedars on either side of the 2km (1.25miles) path leading from the Ichinohashi Bridge. Kobodaishi Gobyo Mausoleum is located at the end of the path. The sacred religious centre is frequented by worshippers and pilgrims.

Experience Koyasan

Goma Prayer

One of the most characteristic practices of esoteric Buddhism, during this ceremony, a wooden altar is used to light a fire and offer incense, grains, and other offerings in prayer to the Buddha.


A breathing exercise and meditation passed down from Shingon Buddhism. While seated in front of the Sanskrit syllable “A,” a symbol representing Dainichi Nyorai, practitioners perform Ajikan to become one with the Buddhist deity, who is the universe itself.


Temple Lodging

Koyasan has 51 temples that serve as shukubo, where visitors can stay overnight. Shojin ryori vegetarian meals are offered for breakfast and dinner, and monks and temple staff are available to provide assistance.

Shojin Ryori

Shojin ryori is a healthy cuisine prepared without meat or fish and using only seasonal vegetables and bean products, in accordance with Buddhist precepts.


Wi-Fi Service

The Koya Tourism Association can be used as a free Wi-Fi hotspot.

For inquiries about services, please contact:

359-3 Koyasan, Koyacho, Itogun, Wakayama 648-0211
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Bike Rentals

Koya Tourism Association
Reception Available
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
1,000 yen per rental
*Rentals are not available when it is raining or snowing. Please note that there are also days when rentals are not available due to various reasons.*Must be 18 years of age or older

Koya Tourism Association
359-3 Koyasan, Koyacho, Itogun, Wakayama 648-0211
Phone: 0736-56-2468
Google Map

Small Electric Vehicle Rentals

We offer rentals of small electric vehicles for short trips around the mountain.

  • A standard driver’s license is required. (Foreign residents in Japan will need an international driver’s license.)
  • For your safety and peace of mind, we also provide information on insurance coverage when processing your rental.
3,000 yen (inc. tax) for 3 hours, with 500 yen for each additional 30 minutes over 3 hours..
Can be rented for up to 6 hours per day.
Koya Tourism Association
359-3 Koyasan, Koyacho, Itogun, Wakayama 648-0211 Phone: 0736-56-2468
Google Map


When using a rental car from Kansai Airport
View routes from Kansai Airport on Google Maps
When visiting by train from Shin-Osaka Station
View routes from Shin-Osaka Station on Google Maps