Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


One of Japan's most intensely spiritual places, Oku-no-in is a memorial hall to Kōbō Daishi surrounded by a vast, forested Buddhist cemetery. The tall cedars and thousands of peaked stone stupas along the stone path…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


This sprawling temple 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; and the …
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


At the western end of central Kōya-san, this complex of eight principal buildings (temples, pagodas) and several other structures is one of Kōya-san's most important sites, along with Oku-no-in and Kongōbu-ji. Somet…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Konpon Daitō

Most recently rebuilt in 1934 after a fire, this 50m tall, bright-orange pagoda in the Garan is said to be the centre of the lotus-flower mandala formed by Kōya-san's eight mountains. The main object of worship is D…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


The Garan's kondō is the main hall and enshrines Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing. First constructed in the early 9th century, it was destroyed by fire six times; the current structure dates from 1…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san


At the northern end of the Oku-no-in cemetery is the complex's main building, Tōrō-dō. It houses hundreds of lanterns donated by dignitaries, including emperors; two lanterns are believed to have been burning for mo…
Monument in Kōya-san

Kūkai Mausoleum

At the very end of the path through Oku-no-in, this is perhaps the holiest place in Japan. In front of the fence enclosing the mausoleum, you may well find pilgrims offering bouquets of flowers and chanting sutras.
Museum in Kōya-san


The Treasure Museum has a compact display of Buddhist works of art, all collected in Kōya-san. There are some very fine statues, painted scrolls and mandalas.
Bridge in Kōya-san


This bridge is inside Oku-no-in, on the way to Tōrō-dō. To the right of the bridge, worshippers ladle river water from a trough and pour it over the nearby Jizō statues as an offering to the dead. To the left, the i…
Monument in Kōya-san

Tokugawa Mausoleum

Built in 1643, the Tokugawa Mausoleum is actually two adjoining mausoleums in a clearing: Tokugawa Ieyasu is on the right and Tokugawa Hidetada on the left, the first and second Tokugawa shoguns, respectively. They …