Kongosanmaiin

Kongosanmaiin, Koya-cho

Kongosanmaiin
4.5
What people are saying
Alvin W
By Alvin W
Stay overnight for a full experience
Apr 2019
While it’s not necessarily in the itineraries of many of travel to Kansai for the first time, Koyasan is definitely worth a trip away from the giant tourist crowds at Osaka and Wakayama upon a repeat visit. Its beautiful natural scenery is quite a delight. If you’re interested in the Buddhist religion and culture, as well as the story of Kukai (a venerable Japanese monk), there’s added value at Koyasan as well, as distinguished by its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We stayed as a family of 7 at the Kongosanmaiin. It’s not the most convenient and a bit away (about 5-10 minutes at an incline) from the main path at Koyasan. It’s even more difficult to find if you can’t read Japanese or Chinese. Once there we were greeted by a centuries-old pine tree, with cherry blossoms in bloom as well. Compared to other nearby temples (like Ekoin and Fu-doin), the stay at Kongosanmaiin is a bit more hardcore and less foreigner-friendly. There’s a younger monk there that speaks some English and is helpful in explaining the various venues and lodging/meal arrangements in the temple. We opted for rooms with en-suite toilets as some of our family members were not comfortable with communal arrangements, though I must say that the shared toilets are clean and just fine. The rooms themselves are nothing special: if you’re looking for comfort, you’re better off going back down the mountain to a nearby ryokan after a day trip. After checking in, a nice healthy vegetarian dinner at the dining hall is served at 5:30pm. A pretty good plus of the lodging is the technical lack of curfew (whereas some counterparts have strict 8-9pm curfews). This allows us to be a bit flexible with our time and have the chance to join the Ekoin nighttime tour to the Okunoin cemetery (be aware though that the distance between Kongosanmaiin and Ekoin is not short - perhaps 15 minutes at a moderate walking pace). Do be aware though that the bathhouse closes at 9:00pm. Another highlight is the morning monk ceremony at 6:30am. It sounds super early but be sure to wake up in advance for it, as the temple only has limited seats, and you won’t be disappointed if you can get in. One slight hiccup was the translation of the main monk’s description of the temple’s history and restoration after the ceremony, as the younger translating monk wasn’t able to translate all of what he said.
Tarzy_Tea
By Tarzy_Tea
Brilliant stay!
Nov 2018
I stayed the night here. When I arrived (after 2pm as the sign at the entry states), they waited a few minutes until a group of us had arrived and then a young monk (who could speak English) explained the process of what occurs during our stay, for example what time the bath is open, meal times etc. He then showed us to our rooms. I had booked a room with my own toilet, which I recommend as it was quite cold overnight and I didn't have to leave my room to go to the toilet. It does however limit the amount of window you have. The rooms appear to overlook a lovely central garden. The actual accommodation is the building across from the temple. When you arrive, there is some hot water and a treat waiting for you, so that you can have some afternoon tea on arrival. I then spent some time wandering around Koya-san before returning for my incredibly delicious and filling vegetarian dinner. I managed to eat quickly enough that I had time for a bath (there isn't much time that they're open) before heading out to the Okunoin Night tour (which was interesting and I do recommend). I visited in early November and it was cold that night. It was a relief to get back to my accommodation. The hallways were chilly but my room was nice and cosy. I slept well on the futon, before heading to morning prayers over at the temple. The young English speaking monk then attempted to translate some of what the head monk shared with us after prayers. If you do go to morning prayers, please arrive on time (and don't forget to take your shoes off) as some other people staying didn't and just walked into the prayer room with their footwear on. Which was incredibly disrespectful. Make sure you go to prayers early as you can have a look around the temple then. The gardens are lovely.

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4.5
47 reviews
Excellent
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Alvin W
Hong Kong, China28 contributions
Apr 2019 • Couples
While it’s not necessarily in the itineraries of many of travel to Kansai for the first time, Koyasan is definitely worth a trip away from the giant tourist crowds at Osaka and Wakayama upon a repeat visit. Its beautiful natural scenery is quite a delight. If you’re interested in the Buddhist religion and culture, as well as the story of Kukai (a venerable Japanese monk), there’s added value at Koyasan as well, as distinguished by its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We stayed as a family of 7 at the Kongosanmaiin. It’s not the most convenient and a bit away (about 5-10 minutes at an incline) from the main path at Koyasan. It’s even more difficult to find if you can’t read Japanese or Chinese. Once there we were greeted by a centuries-old pine tree, with cherry blossoms in bloom as well. Compared to other nearby temples (like Ekoin and Fu-doin), the stay at Kongosanmaiin is a bit more hardcore and less foreigner-friendly. There’s a younger monk there that speaks some English and is helpful in explaining the various venues and lodging/meal arrangements in the temple.

We opted for rooms with en-suite toilets as some of our family members were not comfortable with communal arrangements, though I must say that the shared toilets are clean and just fine. The rooms themselves are nothing special: if you’re looking for comfort, you’re better off going back down the mountain to a nearby ryokan after a day trip.

After checking in, a nice healthy vegetarian dinner at the dining hall is served at 5:30pm. A pretty good plus of the lodging is the technical lack of curfew (whereas some counterparts have strict 8-9pm curfews). This allows us to be a bit flexible with our time and have the chance to join the Ekoin nighttime tour to the Okunoin cemetery (be aware though that the distance between Kongosanmaiin and Ekoin is not short - perhaps 15 minutes at a moderate walking pace). Do be aware though that the bathhouse closes at 9:00pm.

Another highlight is the morning monk ceremony at 6:30am. It sounds super early but be sure to wake up in advance for it, as the temple only has limited seats, and you won’t be disappointed if you can get in. One slight hiccup was the translation of the main monk’s description of the temple’s history and restoration after the ceremony, as the younger translating monk wasn’t able to translate all of what he said.
Written April 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tarzy_Tea
Melbourne, Australia28 contributions
Nov 2018 • Solo
I stayed the night here. When I arrived (after 2pm as the sign at the entry states), they waited a few minutes until a group of us had arrived and then a young monk (who could speak English) explained the process of what occurs during our stay, for example what time the bath is open, meal times etc. He then showed us to our rooms. I had booked a room with my own toilet, which I recommend as it was quite cold overnight and I didn't have to leave my room to go to the toilet. It does however limit the amount of window you have. The rooms appear to overlook a lovely central garden. The actual accommodation is the building across from the temple.
When you arrive, there is some hot water and a treat waiting for you, so that you can have some afternoon tea on arrival. I then spent some time wandering around Koya-san before returning for my incredibly delicious and filling vegetarian dinner. I managed to eat quickly enough that I had time for a bath (there isn't much time that they're open) before heading out to the Okunoin Night tour (which was interesting and I do recommend). I visited in early November and it was cold that night. It was a relief to get back to my accommodation. The hallways were chilly but my room was nice and cosy.
I slept well on the futon, before heading to morning prayers over at the temple. The young English speaking monk then attempted to translate some of what the head monk shared with us after prayers. If you do go to morning prayers, please arrive on time (and don't forget to take your shoes off) as some other people staying didn't and just walked into the prayer room with their footwear on. Which was incredibly disrespectful. Make sure you go to prayers early as you can have a look around the temple then. The gardens are lovely.
Written March 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Stevee Lee Chung Im
Seoul, South Korea10 contributions
Jan 2019 • Solo
The Buddhas here are the epitome of perfect. As a staunch buddhist, coming here was a dream come true. Being able to revel in the history of these Buddha statues was just unbelievable.
Written February 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Niamh N
Rathfarnham, Ireland5 contributions
Aug 2018 • Couples
We stayed here for two nights. The check in process was not swift and I found the "monk" who checked us in was quite rude.

Our room was big and clean, with a private toilet. There was green tea for us in our room both mornings, which was nice. The only downside was the pillows. They were incredibly small and very uncomfortable, like bean bags full of rocks. We needed to use the blanket to make the pillow somewhat bearable.

We had two dinners at the temple, both were tasty and nicely presented. They mainly consisted of tempura vegetables, noodles, soup, rice and fruit. The breakfast wasn't great and we found it too heavy to eat at such an early hour.

On our second day it's absolutely poured down with rain, which wasn't ideal as the town is tiny and there isn't much to do there on a bad day, not even a pub!

Overall, we were a bit disappointed but happy that we had the experience.
Written August 23, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

kasiulka6
London, UK913 contributions
Mar 2018 • Friends
The accommodation in the shrine is superb. The rooms are spacious with a beautiful porch and a garden. There is tea waiting for you in the room and the bathroom is comfortable and clean. Check in is between 2pm and 5pm. To make the most out of your stay, check in at 2pm. Enjoy the room, the public bath, the tranquility and the traditional Japanese yukata robe that you will wear. Dinner is served at 5.30 and it was really nice. Wi-fi is available but you need to log in again after 15 mins slot lapses. Check out is between 8am and 9am. The Buddhist ceremony is at 6.30 am and it's really worth seeing and participating in it - you get a glimpse of the temple life. We were really positively surprised with the accommodation and were able to totally unwind and slow down. This was a truly wonderful experience.
Written April 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jochenulrike
London243 contributions
Apr 2015 • Friends
the buddhas are very impressive. Again many people but there are ways around it. Better to go just before closing or just after opening.
Written April 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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