7 November 2013

Osaka Travel Trip 2013 @ Part 4 (Mt Koya - Wakayama)

For my next trip, I decided to head up to Mt Koya in the Wakayama Prefecture which is well known as the center of Shingon Buddhism and also having the world largest cemetery that was really interesting. This is a definitely a must visit place for cultural sightseeing..Also, you are able to experience a monk's lifestyle if you are planning to stay overnight here.

Cable Car Fares
The trip to Koyasan was tiring as it involves a long train ride and quick transfer from Namba to Gokurakubashi. Do start your journey earlier as it may take about 1.5 hours to reach Mt Koya. From Gokurakubashi, take the cable car up to Koyasan and then take the bus heading towards Senjuinbashi. If you are using the KTP pass, the cable car & bus fares are included. In this post I will only explain Kongobuji Temple & Okunuin Cemetery as my legs were giving up on me after extensive walking.

View from Cable Car
Cable Car
Koyasan Town
Koyasan Town
Kongobuji Temple Entrance
The first place I visited was Kongobuji Temple, which was just walking distance from Senjuinbashi. Kongobuji was originally constructed in 1593 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to commemorate the death of his mother. Later it was merged with a neighbouring temple and reorganized into the head temple of Shingon Buddhism.

Kongobuji Temple Entrance
Kongobuji Temple
Take off your shoes and pay your entrance fee to view inside. Firstly, the Ohiroma room was basically rooms which featured paintings on sliding doors by Kano Tanyu. It certainly was a historic experience to understand each of the paintings (No photo taking allowed). Next, do visit the largest rock gardens in Japan, and Kongoubuji Kitchen on your way out. There are also souvenir shops to purchase your omamori.

Ohiroma Room (taken from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4903.html)
Kongobuji Temple
Banryutei Rock Garden
Banryutei Rock Garden
Sushi Set (Y980)
Before heading off to the cemetery, I had lunch in the nearby shops. They were not much choices and the language barrier is killing me here. Overall the sushis here really tasted fresh and different than the ones in Malaysia.

Sushi Set (Y980)
Okunuin Cemetery
Finally, the star attraction of Mt Koya would be Okunoin cemetery, the largest in Japan, with over 200,000 tombstones lining the almost two kilometer long approach to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. It was not as scary as I thought. They are many types of tombstones (traditional & modern) and it was certainly one of the greatest experience ever. This place is best visited at night if you are staying overnight for a thrilling experience. Do visit uphill paths that are off from the main pathways as they are some interesting tombs to see.

Okunuin Cemetery
Okunuin Cemetery
Okunuin Cemetery
Okunuin Cemetery
Okunuin Cemetery
Okunuin Cemetery
Okunuin Cemetery
Okunuin Cemetery
Buddhism Statues
At the end of the walkways, you can find Torodo Hall of Lamps and Gokusho Offering Hall. Please keep in mind that photography is prohibited beyond the Gobyonohashi Bridge. Thats why I have no pictures of the halls :(

Okunuin Cemetery
Finally after finishing the cemetery, I decided to head back to Namba. Thank you for reading, do stay tune for my last update on Osaka City itself!