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“the highest point of our trip to Japan: Koyasan”

Koyasan Daishi Kyokai
Reviewed 2 May 2013

I shall describe separately how lucky we were to find the most exquisite shukubo --Henjoko-in-- because that made our one night in this extraordinary place even more special. Koyasan is quiet and beautiful. You get there with a train from Osaka (Namba station, Nankai line) through a landscape that becomes increasingly more beautiful, with streams, tall hills, forests and trees in bloom. At Gokurakubashi you take a cable car [Note: no need to drag your bag or backpack over the very steep stairs, as we stupidly did! There is an elevator to the left of the cable car], then a bus, and you arrive to this beautiful little town, which looks a bit like a mountain resort that serves some magnificent temples and the huge Buddhist cemetery of Okuno-in. Okuno-in is full of old shrines and statues of ill-formed and ancient Buddhas with red bibs, covered by green moss and climbing up the hills amidst tall majestic cedar trees. It is a quiet and mysterious place. The most beautiful building, for me, was the Kongobu-ji temple, center of shingon buddhism. Its beauty is hard to put in words, from the monumental wood gates to the succession of rooms graced by trees, storks and flowers on golden backgrounds by the 18th century painter Tanyu Kano, to the large Zen garden, which is known for harboring many rocks. It was added in 1964 (hard to believe) but it is outside of time, one of the most perfect places I have seen. Both oldest and newest temples are grouped in Djengo Garan.

4  Thank MagaPhiladelphia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 April 2013

This cemetery is called Okunoin and is located at the end of the main street in Koyasan adjacent to the Shinjoshin-in (a buddhist temple with traditional lodgings)
It is absolutely AMAZING history where feudal lords, shoguns etc were buried amongst thousand year old cedar trees.
It sounds weird enjoying a cemetery, and even though we couldn't 'read' the writings on the headstones, we could still feel the atmosphere and imagine the ancientness of it all. Photos won't do it justice.
The monastery lodgings were a great way to experience the traditional old fashioned Japanese way of life- we opted to skip the traditional communal bathing thing, and didn't really enjoy the lack of privacy of shared toilet facilities. But the food prepared by the monks (vegan) was delicious and plentiful. Beds were futons on tatami mats, so if you like soft bedding, this wouldn't be for you- although you can ask for more futons to pile up for a softer mattress.
No western fast foods in sight.
One night was plenty....

1  Thank FammyL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2013

There is a buddist monastery at the top of the mountain, and very few tourists ever get the courage to take a few trains, the cable car up the mountain, and take a bus ride to the monastery. We spent the night at the monastery and were fed seaweed soup for dinner with the monks (could not eat it), and slept on mats in a bamboo room - wild stuff! Make sure you are there for the sunrise church service, sit cross-legged on the floor in the gold adorned sanctuary, and listen to the gong and the chanting of the monks - wild stuff! A true once in a lifetime experience. If you ever visit Japan, plan ahead for this excursion - wild stuff!

3  Thank mrblumis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2013

At first it seemed disappointing but then we discovered the basement. Unlike anything else in terms of temples that we have seen before. Would be great at night I think.

Thank pollyoppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 April 2012

This was really a fine site. Very beautiful and inspirational. But most people fail to see the basement area where there are thousands of statues and lamps honouring Kobi Daishi. It's really very special.
The difficulty is that few staff speak English and so they will respond to your queries about this area with a blank start or denial that it exists.
The secret is to turn left on the verandah as you stand facing the temple. Then walk around three sides of the temple on this verandah until you are right at the end of the side that leads back to the side where you started. To your right is an entrance to the temple that cannot be accessed from any other door. Go through it and down the stairs and there is it. Enjoy.

6  Thank Marathonwinner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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