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“A bit commercial”
Review of Mount Koya

Mount Koya
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Mt Koya Day Trip from Osaka Including Okunoin and Danjo Garan Temples
Ranked #2 of 64 things to do in Koya-cho
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Wooden temples hidden among the trees, mist-covered mountains, smooth-headed monks in colorful robes--all the Buddhist film archetypes are alive on Mt. Koya. A deeply sacred place, central to the Shingon sect of Buddhism, Mt. Koya is also a World Heritage Site due to its more than 1000-year-old teaching and meditation sites.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
64 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“A bit commercial”
Reviewed May 24, 2014

Having been to Arashiyama, Nara and Kyoto, I thought Koyasan would be like that. Temples in a serene setting, little traffic...

So I was surprised at the size of Koyasan and the amount of traffic there was. It felt commercial, with all the paved roads, buses and cars. And while Odawara-dori had a lovely old-Japan feel and character (as well as a really good Japanese sweets shop whose name eludes me), my visit was perhaps somewhat marred by this modern intrusion in what I imagined to be a religious, quiet and peaceful place.

That said, the journey to Koyasan is scenic (journeying through the Japanese countryside, beautiful cedar trees and scenery on the ascent up the mountains en-route to Koyasan), and the buses are especially handy if you are only there for a day. We passed many beautiful temples, including one with striking gold lacquered screens which we almost entered, only to find out that it was for guests only. I think it would be quite an experience to stay on the mountain overnight, when the traffic has died down.

I particularly loved the Danjo Garan religious precinct. It was what I imagine Koyasan to be like back in the day - packed sand roads, towering cedar trees, monks walking about and an overall atmosphere of peacefulness. We also did the Okunoi walk; it was amazing to see how old some of the graves were, and to read the signs on the monuments along the way. The Torodo and Masoleum of Kobo Daishi at the end were also spectacular. There was a spiritual and respectful air to it, and quite amazing to think that two of the oil lamps are said to have been constantly lit since the 11th century.

I enjoyed my experience and left feeling a little lighter. I do think a stay on the mountain would have made a difference, and been quite magical upon nightfall!

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Caryn N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Excellent choice for 1-day visit!”
Reviewed May 11, 2014

Let me start by saying that visit to Koyasan is very much doable in one day. In fact, for a one day trip, it was very easy to pull it through. How-to steps at the end of this review.

We started the day with a limited express train from Osaka, which you can get from JR Namba Station 2F. No need to head for the information center which opens after 10AM, you can just buy your tickets from the ticketing office. Get the World Heritage Ticket as it covers all the travelling you need (train, cable car, bus) during your one day visit and in addition some discount vouchers for the trinket shops.

There are five or so limited express trains that go directly to the destination and choosing that makes sure that you don’t need to worry about changing trains during your way to Koyasan. 9AM train leaves you enough time but you can go earlier too if you wish.

The trip to Koyasan is pleasant, it takes about 90minutes and you can enjoy some beautiful scenery during your train ride. If you take the regular ride, it should take around 100min and there is a possibility that you need to change train at Hashimoto station.

Once at the final destination (Gokurakubashi station) you’ll take the cable car up to mount Koya. Don’t worry, you simply can’t miss it. Once there, there is a bus you take to Koya. You can’t miss that either.

At Koyasan we took our time and had peaceful stroll through the many sites and enjoyed a decent meal at a local restaurant. Not once there was a need to worry about the time-tables and we could focus enjoy the scenery to the fullest. We especially enjoyed walking at Okunoin (200 000 tombstones during 2km walk).

If you’re having a city vacation at Osaka, Koyasan gives you an opportunity to enjoy some great scenery and attractions you simply can't see at Osaka. Go there and enjoy it yourself. Our one-day visit was easily one of the highlights of my 10-day visit at Japan.

How to get there from Osaka:

1. Go to Osaka Namba Station
2. Buy the World Heritage Ticket
3. Take Limited Express train from Nankai Koya line to Gokurakubashi station (90min)
4. Take Cable Car to Mount Koya
5. Take a bus to Koya
6. Enjoy and behave!
7. Head back to Osaka

Visited May 2014
25 Thank Makeventure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vitoria, ES
Level Contributor
105 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed May 4, 2014

Japan has many interesting places to see .
After the usual Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima , Fuji san, Kamakura, Miyajima , a good and interesting experience is a overnigth at mount koya and see why the japanese go there for about 1200 years

Visited April 2014
Thank ashoka s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Stay overnight a must”
Reviewed May 3, 2014

Visited April 2014. So beautiful and peaceful at this time of year. Accommodation at Shukubo Saizen-in a Monastery was way beyond expecations - warm, comfortable and the Buddhist vegetarian cuisine was just great. So much to see and take in at this small mountain village it deserves an overnight stay.

Visited April 2014
2 Thank Bruce T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mandurah, Australia
Level Contributor
48 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Our thanks to all who encouraged a 1 day visit”
Reviewed April 9, 2014 via mobile

We are on our first visit to Japan and only staying in Osaka for 3 nights which we had booked. Then we discovered Koyasan! Having read some recent posts encouraging a 1 day trip if an overnight stay was not possible, we purchased the World Heritage ticket which covered all transport to and from. We caught the 9am express from Nankai Namba and left Koyasan around 4pm for the return journey. We had enough time for a peaceful stroll around the many sites and a delicious meal at a small restaurant along the street. Got home a little tired and very happy we had made the journey :)

Visited April 2014
4 Thank PAB048
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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