Koyasan (高野山) attracts visitors, including believers and devotees, from
around the world. It is an important destination for pilgrims returning
from the “Pilgrimage to the 88 Temples of Shikoku.” Koyasan is a sacred place
that always welcomes people with Buddha’s great love. Even if you are not a Buddhist, it’s great to visit a such a serene place.
Okuno-in (奥之院) is probably the most famous and popular place in Koyasan. With its many famous gravesites (for Oda Nobunaga, 织田信长 and the Toyotomi family, 丰臣家), it is considered the heart of Koyasan. However, we didn’t go there as it was raining very heavily and we didn’t want to walk the steps and slopes, so we decided to stop at the Senju-in-bashi nishii (千手院桥) bus-stop and just do the nearby temples and attractions.
Our first stop was Kondo (金堂) and Konpo Daito (根本大塔). Both are built by the famous Kobo Daishi (弘法大师). We seek shelter in Konpo Daito from the rain and it was a good peaceful feeling sitting inside the quiet temple, trying to keep ourselves dry. We even saw someone copying scriptures in front of the altar.
After a peaceful moment in the Konpo Daito, we decided to brace the rain again and made our way to Daimon (大门). This is literally the main gate to the Koyasan in the past.
Look at the heavy rain!
We then made our way to Kongobu-ji (金刚峰寺). This is the main headquarters for the Shingon Sect (真言宗派). Visitors can see religious artifacts, shoji screen paintings, as well as beautiful rock gardens.
At the end of the tour, we found ourselves in a hall whereby a monk is giving a talk on Buddhism. Although we don’t understand what he’s saying but we welcome the snacks and hot tea being served to us and the heater to dry and warm ourselves! This must be the best part of the Koyasan trip! :p
Trying to dry our wet feet with the heater! We learnt from a Japanese old lady. :p
When we left the temple, the rain has finally stopped! Since it’s time for lunch, we decided to try Koyasan’s famous vegetarian meal, Shojin-ryori (精进料理). The meals consists only of vegetables, mushrooms and tofu and is surprisingly delicious and refreshing.