Japan

Koyasan World Heritage Site

Koyasan has a long history having been opened as a place of secret training in Shingon Buddhism. The pilgrimage routes that connect Kongobuji Temple and Okunoin have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are also famous as a wonderful place for autumn foliage viewing. You will be able to stay in an historic temple, and enjoy the daily ritual of a buddhist monk.

Heading to Koyasan

Kick the day off with a quick flight from Fukuoka to Osaka (check out Peach Airlines for some great deals. You should be able to get to Osaka for between 4,000 and 6,000 Yen approximately each way). Once landed in Osaka, catch a train to Koyasan Station, which should take approximately 3 hours, you may need to head to Osaka first and change trains a couple of times, so check the schedules before leaving.

Once in Koyasan check into the Muryoko-In Temple where you can enjoy the Buddhist morning ceremony every morning in the main worship hall.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the town of Koyasan, after first having stopped by the Visitor Information Centre to stock up on guides. Don’t forget to check out Kongobuji, Head temple of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism in Japan.

Exploring Koyasan

After enjoying the morning ceremony and breakfast, you will be in the zone for exploring the historic town of Koyasan today. Look out for Okunoin Cemetery on the east side of town, which is the largest cemetery in Japan, where it is believed that Kobo Daishi still remains alive today after going into eternal meditation on March 21, 835… Another must see in Koyasan is Garan, the Central Monastic Complex.

There are many restaurants and Isakaya’s in central Koyasan, so like anywhere in Japan you won’t be short on options or quality. Miyasan has a menu of about 50 items , ranging in price from 200 – 1000 yen.

The Koyasan Choishimichi (Stone Marker Path)

After another hearty breakfast catch the bus to Daimon, where you will begin today’s pilgrimage down the mountain. The Koyasan Choishimichi is an historic route used to access Koyasan from Jison-In at the mountain foot. The route is marked with 36 stone stupas called Choishi at intervals of 1 ri (about 1.6km). This is a 7 hour trek, so wouldn’t hurt to pack some food to enjoy on the way down.

After the long trek down, catch a train to Osaka, where you can grab dinner and spend the night, after a relaxing soak in an Onsen.

Osaka and out

Use today to explore Osaka if you have time, maybe take in Osaka Castle before heading back to the airport and flying back to Fukuoka.

Takeaways

Enjoy the diversity of Japanese Cuisine Every city in Japan is full of eating houses of all shapes and sizes, offering all manner of cuisine. Often the most enjoyable meals when eating out in Japan are not the ones where you have planned a specific location knowing that you like the food, but the ones where you have popped into a little restaurant in a side street, with no idea of what it offers and enjoying something completely new. So get off the beaten track and try surprise dining….

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