Top things to do in Kii Peninsula

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Oku-no-in

Oku-no-in, whose name means 'inner sanctuary', is perhaps the most intensely spiritual place in Japan. At its farthest reaches is the Gobyō, the crypt that Shingon Buddhism founder Kōbō Daishi entered to began his e…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Hongū

Kumano Hongū Taisha

Kumano Hongū Taisha is one of the Kumano Sanzan (three great shrines of Kumano) and if you're following the traditional pilgrim route it's the first one you'll encounter. Though the shrine has been rebuilt many time…
Top Choice Cafe in Kōya-san

Bononsha

This chill spot – more Goa than rural Japan – with great wooden beams serves vegetarian dishes like tofu cheesecake that seem indulgent compared to temple food. Come after 11am for the daily lunch plate, only served…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Garan

The name of this temple, which is sometimes called Danjo Garan or Dai Garan, derives from the sanskrit saṅghārāma, which means monastery. With eight principal buildings (temples, pagodas), the complex was the origin…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Konpon Daitō

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. Th…
Waterfall in Nachi-Katsuura

Nachi-no-taki

At 133m, Nachi-no-taki is Japan's highest waterfall. It's the first of many still deeper in the Nachi mountains and has long been used in ascetic training.
Monument in Kōya-san

Gobyō

The wooden, thatched roof gate here is as far as you can go in Oku-no-in. Beyond it lies the crypt Kōbō Daishi entered in 835, never to leave. Pilgrims in a constant stream pause here to light incense and candles an…
Cultural in Kōya-san

Rōsoku Matsuri

This captivating festival is held in remembrance of departed souls. Thousands of people come to light some 100,000 candles along the approaches to Oku-no-in.
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Kongōbu-ji

This is the headquarters of the Shingon sect and the residence of Kōya-san's abbot. The main gate is the temple's oldest structure (1593); the present main hall dates from the 19th century. It's free to enter the gr…
Shinto Shrine in Nachi-Katsuura

Kumano Nachi Taisha

Built on the side of a mountain, facing the waterfall Nachi-no-taki, this shrine is one of Kii's most spiritual places, a site of ancient nature worship and one of the Kumano Sanzan (three great shrines of Kumano). …