Koyasan Okunoin

Koyasan Okunoin, Koya-cho

Koyasan Okunoin
Cemeteries • Religious Sites
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6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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1,269 reviews
Very good

Australia17 contributions
Feb 2020
I would hate to see this wonderful and spiritual place taken over by busloads of tourists after having seen it. I only found it because it was listed in the Loney Planet book and I was so taken by its description. It would interest spiritual travellers who would pay it the respect it deserves. We visited in Winter. Think snow, huge cedar trees, moss covered sites, pure silence and minimal tourists - just pure beauty. I really think the people resting there are in peace. My husband and I were virtually alone for the most part but Okunoin was alive. A very heavy and peaceful feeling that we were visiting many people that had passed. Outside of Okunoin are a multitude of temples. We visited in February and were there by 10am. It was on the last day of our trip to Japan. Wow, wow, wow...What a finish to a wonderful trip. If you have time, spend a night and see it over two days. Thank you Koyasan. I will return x
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Honolulu, HI1,452 contributions
Jan 2020
A place to let your soul re-awaken. Having last stayed in a monastery here 19 years ago, before it was added to the World Heritage list, I was apprehensive about returning, having heard of busloads of noisy tourists overunning everything, but it defies defilement; one of the world's truly sacred spaces. Early morning and dusk are the best time to visit, early there are monks chanting, at dusk as the shadows fall the 200,000 tombs of the cedar forest begin to stir quietly.
Written February 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sacramento, CA1,396 contributions
Feb 2020
The place is a combination of culture and nature. The graves are located in the midst of old cedar trees covered with the moss.
The scenery is unbelievable!
The impressions of the day and night visits are completely different. Both must be experienced. Plus, during the day, you can visit the mausoleum with hundreds of lanterns.
The night tour is a bit spooky and it's kinda an adventure to wander around with a monk there. But it has a definite charm.
if you can't do both,I'd recommend a daytime. Going only at night,you'll completely lose all drama of nature.
Written February 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barcelona, Spain664 contributions
Jul 2019
Okunoin Cemetery is really impressive, big, with history. We did the night visit and I thought that it's not worth paying to have a guide. They explain you things, but nothing you can't know taking a guide. Plus, if you're on your own, you can stop and go as you wish.
In any case, it's big, impressive, with tons of tombs.. to me, it's Koyasan's highlight.
Written April 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ramadurai R
Cincinnati, OH122 contributions
Nov 2021
Nice experience and our guide was extremely good. Such a rich tradition and was pleasantly surprised to see the details. The night time experience was surreal. We could hear the flying squirrels but did not get a chance to see them!
Written November 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Francisco, CA196 contributions
Nov 2016
Billed as the most popular cemetery in Japan, we didn't know what to expect exactly. We'd read about some of the strange memorials in Okunion, as well as the incredibly important Kukai Mausoleum. But we didn't expect to fall in love with the place. By the way, there are relatively few bodies buried here. Mostly only hair or ashes or the Adam's apple of the departed are placed here. I have to confess that my first feeling was like being in a Hayao Miyazaki film ("Spirited Away" perhaps). It was magical, feeling not simply of this world. The scale was impressive, set among magnificent, old cedar trees. The natural setting made me wish to have some of my ashes placed here too. It is not a morbid place at all, but instead, to me, a place of good intentions, of memorial, of connection between realms. The ubiquitous five-tiered stone monuments are highly symbolic. On one level they represent the five elements key to ancient spiritual thought; from base to top, earth, water, fire, air, space. Each also corresponds with a chakra center in the human body, culminating in the throat, where the vocal chords allow us to give sound to the sacred syllables of existence itself. You'll see offerings at the base of many monuments here, sometimes cigarettes, alcohol, and treats, but most often the Koyamaki (Japanese umbrella pine) tree branches. And the place isn't only wonderful in daylight. A monk friend of ours offers guided night tours, which you shouldn't miss. If you find my reviews helpful in any way, please encourage me with a helpful vote. Thank you, and meaningful travels!
Written January 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Falfield, UK428 contributions
Oct 2015 • Couples
When we booked into our accommodation at the Ekoin we were asked if we would like to take a guided tour through the cemetery at night with one of the monks. We only had a limited amount of time on Koya-san so we thought a late night tour would be a great way to make the most of it.

Koya was noticeably a few degrees colder than the cities that we had been staying in, so we had made sure to pack a couple of extra layers, and we needed them for our late night walk. Our guide, Nobu, collected us all together and then we took the long walk up to see Kobu Daishi in his sleeping tomb at the top of the mountain. Nobu was a fabulous guide, full of lots of information about the burial practices and religions of Japan, and his commentary was funny, insightful and easy to follow. While it is perfectly fine to walk through the cemetery by yourself on the evening, having a guide was really interesting, and I would recommend it.

The monks feed Kobu Daishi twice a day because they believe he is not dead, merely meditating, and as the founder of Shingon Buddhism he is treated with reverence and respect. With this in mind it is important to follow directions as you near his resting place (including not taking any photos!).

We didn't have time to revisit the cemetery in daytime, but seeing it at night was a lovely way to find out more about the Buddhists on Koya and religion in Japan in general. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Written February 6, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melbourne, Australia188 contributions
Dec 2018 • Couples
We did the day trip as we were not staying overnight at Koyasan. We took the morning train from Namba, Osaka to Hashimoto Station (about 50 minutes) from where there was a bus direct to Koyasan (the cable car is presently being replaced and therefore there will be no cable car services until March 2019). The bus ride to Koyasan took another 50 minutes. Once there ,we took the local bus which provides a round trip across the various sights in Koyasan. The cemetery is stop 11 if you wish to walk across the cemetry all the way to the bridge and the monastery (takes 30 minutes), although a short cut is available if you get off at stop 14 (just 5-7 minute walk). If you have time, do the full walk as it is extremely peaceful and you get to see some really wonderful structures. One of must-sees if you have limited time in Koyasan.
Written January 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hastings, UK181 contributions
Sep 2014 • Couples
First the train ride from Osaka to the base of the mountain starts as a normal train ride on a Express train but soon begins to travel through some hilly area's so you get to see towns nestling on the side of hills, as you become closer to the mountain the train slows right down and it becomes more like a Swiss alpine train before finally reaching the base of the mountain where you transfer to a cable powered train (not a free swinging cable car). Once you arrive at the terminus and venture outside you'll find the buses, at this point we picked a bus which just happened to be the last to leave, but as it turned out it took us to the highest point 'The Daimon' which had recently been renovated from there it was a gentle stroll down hill visiting 'Danjo Garan', 'Konpon Daito', 'Kondo', 'Miedo', 'Fudodo', 'Daishi Kyokai', then bus to 'Okunoin', and finally bus back to 'Tokugawa Mausoleum' before making our way back to cable car and down to the train back to Osaka. We went back by commuter train which was a little uncomfortable as the seats being along the sides of train so you had to twist to view the scenery so maybe paying the express supplement would have been worthwhile.
Do get the 'World heritage site ticket' we brought ours from Nankai Namba station information centre, it makes life easier as all travel is included we opted for express train on outward journey.
Mt Koya was one of the best trips we did on our holiday, we would have taken a picnic with us if we had thought about it as there are not to many places to get food and drink, what's also amazing is that generally it free to enter most shrines, obviously making a donation at the shrines entrance is also a very good thing to do, it very refreshing when you compare the prices here in the UK to go into a cathedral like Canterbury.
Written November 9, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Michael T
Paris, France97 contributions
If you are staying in Koyasan, you will end up here for sure.

Now the question is : if you are staying in the area, is it worth spending a day to go there ?

If you have spare time : it is. Only if the sun and warm weather is here, otherwise it may be a little sad, and there is absolutely nothing to so here beside the sanctuary and 2 others temples.

Nara is a much better destination
Written April 14, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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  • Sun - Sat 6:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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