Kōya-san attractions

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 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…
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…
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…
Museum in Kōya-san

Reihōkan

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 originally from Kongōbu-ji. Other works include scroll paintings depi…
Bridge in Kōya-san

Gobyō-bashi

This is the final bridge inside Oku-no-in before Kōbō Daishi's mausoleum. It crosses the Tama-gawa, which runs down from Yōryū-san, the mountain behind the Gobyō. It's customary to bow here, and from here on photogr…
Monument in Kōya-san

Miroku-ishi

Inside Oku-no-in and just past Gobyō-bashi is a wooden building the size of a large phone booth, which contains the Miroku-ishi – a stone said to weigh as much as your sins. Reach through the hole and try to lift it…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Kondō

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, it was destroyed by fire six times; the current structure dat…
Buddhist Temple in Kōya-san

Tōrō-dō

This large hall at the northern end of Oku-no-in is full of lanterns, which cover the walls and ceiling. Two of the large ones, at the back of the hall, are said to have been lit uninterruptedly for over 900 years. …