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Mountain Heaven, Koyasan

Danjo Garan Sacred Temple Complex
Danjo Garan Sacred Temple Complex

The History

In the year 816 AD, a Shingon Buddhist priest by the name of Kukai (774 ~ 835 AD), posthumously named Kobo Daishi, founded the monastery complex known as Koyasan. Located in the lush Koya-Ryujin Quasi-National Park, it is an auspicious location marked by eight surrounding peaks and a basin resembling lotus.
Koyasan is one of Japan’s most sacred sites. For over 1,200 years it has flourished as an active monastic center and a pilgrimage destination.

The Danjo Garan Sacred Temple Complex marks the center of Koyasan, and was the first site built on, as a venue for secluded ascetic training. Here stands the 48.5 meter tall vermillion-colored Konpon Daito (Great Stupa), believed to be Japan’s first square two-story pagoda.

The most sacred site in Koyasan

Okuno-in
Okuno-in

The approximately two kilometer approach that leads to the mausoleum of the Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi, is surrounded by cedar trees that are hundreds of years old. Kobo Daishi is believed to be alive even today, in eternal spiritual meditation, helping all people who pray to him for relief from suffering.
There are also over 200,000 memorial monuments and graves, including those of feudal lords and famous samurais who made their marks on history.

The Head Temple of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism

Kongobuji
Kongobuji

Kongobuji is the head temple of Koyasan Shingon esoteric Buddhism. It was established by Kobo Daishi and has approximately 3,600 temple branches throughout Japan. Do not miss the beautiful fusuma (panel) paintings of seasonal flowers and birds, as well as Banryu Garden, Japan's largest rock garden.

Stay at a Shukubo

Shukubo
Shukubo

The 51 shukubo (temple lodgings) invite you to experience the world of the spirits. You can view beautiful gardens, savor shojin ryori (vegetarian Buddhist cuisine), and attend morning Buddhist services. At some temples you can receive special guidance in a form of meditation called “ajikan”.

Food for the Soul

Shojin-ryori
Shojin-ryori

Shojin-ryori is buddhist cuisine made entirely of vegetables and edible wild plants. Shojin-ryori is all about bringing out the essence of its ingredients. The presentation is a special art form itself, with a balance of colors, textures, and seasonal flairs.

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