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    Shingon Esoteric Buddhist Monks in Koya-san

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.

Each of the temples has its own story. Kongobuji is in many ways the central monastery, home to ancient art and a magnificent rock garden which is said to represent two dragons in the clouds - as well as the kitchen which feeds everyone on Mount Koya. The religious centre however is Danjogaran, which features a large hall dating back to 819 and a dainty red pagoda considered to be one of the mountain’s oldest buildings. Dawn and dusk are ideal times to visit Kongosan-mai, commissioned by Hojo Masako, the wife of Genji leader Minamoto Yoritomo. In memory of her husband, she had the temple beautifully decorated with images of elephants, birds and lions.

Evening is also an atmospheric time to walk through Okunoin cemetery, where 200,000 tombs built over thousands of years lie in the shade of the cypress trees, connected by winding lamp-lit paths. You can also light a candle and make a wish in Lantern Hall, whose fires are said to have been burning since the 11th Century, and we recommend a visit to The Reihokan Museum for its collection of Buddhas, sculptures and art pieces.


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.