Konpon Daito Pagoda at Danjo Garan Temple, Mount Koya, Wakayama, Japan; Shutterstock ID 661087084; Your name (First / Last): Laura Crawford; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Kii Peninsula page online images for BiT

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Konpon Daitō

Kii Peninsula

The most interesting structure at the Garan is the Konpon Daitō, a 50m-tall, bright-vermilion pagoda seated at what is considered to be the centre of the lotus-flower mandala formed by Kōya-san's eight mountains. The main object of worship is Dainichi-nyōrai (Cosmic Buddha), surrounded by four attendant Buddhas and, painted on pillars, 16 bodhisattva, which together compose a three-dimensional mandala of the Shingon Buddhist cosmos.

Originally, it's said, the pillars were painted by Kōbō Daishi himself; the current building (and paintings) date to 1934.

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1. Kondō

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The Garan's kondō is the temple's main hall and enshrines Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing. First constructed in the early 9th century,…

2. Garan

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The name of this temple, which is sometimes called Danjo Garan or Dai Garan, derives from the Sanskrit saṅghārāma, which means monastery. With eight…

3. Chūmon

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4. Sai-tō

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The Western Pagoda was most recently rebuilt in 1834.

5. Reihōkan

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Several important artworks from Kōya-san's temples are collected here, most notably some Heian-era wooden sculptures of the Buddha and Fudō Myō-ō…

6. Kongōbu-ji

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7. Tokugawa Mausoleum

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8. Ichi-no-hashi

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This simple stone bridge marks the entrance to the sacred Oku-no-in complex.