Mount Koya Information

Population: 4,000 (mainly monks)

Access: From Osaka (and, by extension, Kyoto) the Nankai Electric Railway gets you to Gokurakubashi, at the base of the mountain. This is involves a slow climb up into the mountains and it is an extremely scenic journey, if it's not snowing too hard outside. A cable car from Gokurakubashi then whisks you to the top, although there is then a bus required to take you the final leg. Train, cable car and bus schedules are well synchronised, so this all works better than it sounds. We'll provide timetables and more detailed (i.e. foolproof) instructions. Indeed, the journey here is part of the experience!

Highlights: Okunoin, the mausoleum of Kukai, lit by thousands of lanterns ans surrounded by an atmospheric and immense graveyard / staying in a shukubo / Kongōbu-ji Temple.

Favourite hotels:

How to Book

We don’t believe in off-the-shelf packages - we tailor-make holidays.

  • Tell us what you want to do. Whether you have detailed plans or just a vague idea, get in contact – we have knowledge, ideas and expertise.
  • We build a tailored itinerary. Once you’ve received it, we can answer any further questions and refine it until you are completely happy.
  • Book it. When you are satisfied with all the arrangements, we ask you to complete a booking form and pay a deposit, at which point we start confirming everything.

Different Snow is a fully bonded tour operator, which means we automatically take responsibility for your whole holiday, offering you 100% financial security.

Many of the temples offer lodging in suitably simple rooms with Japanese beds and rice paper doors. The ‘shukubo’, which were originally reserved for trainee monks and the occasional weary pilgrim, allow you to live like the monks do. You will join them for meditation and prayer – a hypnotic experience involving sutra chanting, incense and gongs – and dining with them in a large communal hall. Shojin food is completely vegetarian and very simple – no meat, fish, or spices – in accordance with Buddhist philosophy; it is nourishing, sustainable, and does not cause harm. Before dinner, you are invited to bathe in the onsen (a ‘yukata’ or dressing gown will be provided for you to walk around the complex), and we recommend a stroll around the Japanese garden, designed by renowned garden designer Kobori Enshu.

Prices vary between ¥10,000 (£55) and ¥20,000 (£110) per night and usually include two meals. We've stayed here and have personally inspected several of the shukubo – we know which ones are most comfortable and welcoming to overseas guests.


Mount Koya Information

Population: 4,000 (mainly monks)

Access: From Osaka (and, by extension, Kyoto) the Nankai Electric Railway gets you to Gokurakubashi, at the base of the mountain. This is involves a slow climb up into the mountains and it is an extremely scenic journey, if it's not snowing too hard outside. A cable car from Gokurakubashi then whisks you to the top, although there is then a bus required to take you the final leg. Train, cable car and bus schedules are well synchronised, so this all works better than it sounds. We'll provide timetables and more detailed (i.e. foolproof) instructions. Indeed, the journey here is part of the experience!

Highlights: Okunoin, the mausoleum of Kukai, lit by thousands of lanterns ans surrounded by an atmospheric and immense graveyard / staying in a shukubo / Kongōbu-ji Temple.

Favourite hotels:

How to Book

We don’t believe in off-the-shelf packages - we tailor-make holidays.

  • Tell us what you want to do. Whether you have detailed plans or just a vague idea, get in contact – we have knowledge, ideas and expertise.
  • We build a tailored itinerary. Once you’ve received it, we can answer any further questions and refine it until you are completely happy.
  • Book it. When you are satisfied with all the arrangements, we ask you to complete a booking form and pay a deposit, at which point we start confirming everything.

Different Snow is a fully bonded tour operator, which means we automatically take responsibility for your whole holiday, offering you 100% financial security.