Mount Kōya Mountaineering Adventure

Located in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan, Mount Kōya (高野山 Kōya-san) is the collective name of the eight-peaked mountain in the prefecture which is said to resemble a lotus plant.

Mount Kōya was first settled by the monk Kukai in 819. Today, it serves as the world head quarters of the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. You could also find the town of koya in the 800 meter high valley in the mountain. The town has a university dedicated to religious studies. It also has 120 temples, many of which serves as lodging to pilgrims.
Mt. Koya Map
Road to Mt. Koya!
The town on Mt. Kōya
Aside from that , Mount Kōya is also known for several famous structures and sites like the ones that we visited:
Koyasan's Dai-mon
Dai-garan temple complex
Kongobuji Temple
Okunoin Cemetery
Kobo Daishi Gobyo
In 2004,  Mount Kōya, along with two other locations on the Kii Peninsula, Yoshino and Omine; and Kumano Sanza, was designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites with the collective name "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range".
Having our family photo taken at a torii near Mt. Koya's   Dai-mon
Snow angel Yeah!
Although Mount Kōya  is part of my mountaineering adventures, I admit that I didn't hike up all the way to any of the eight peaks. We actually drove up to the town and did some pilgrimage to some of its famous temples. We visited Mount Kōya on our 23rd day of stay in Japan. Funny thing was, it was there that we experienced our first snow. I also got the chance to make my first snow angel. and it was there that I got hit by a snow ball for the first time.
Inside the Great Forest of Japanese Cedar
The mausoleums of Matsudaira Hideyasu and his mother
Overall, I enjoyed Mount Kōya not only for its old and historic structures but also for the memories that me and my family made in its beautiful town.

Mountain Details:
Height: 800 m
Major Trail head: Gokurakubashi Station (for cable car)
Climb time: 1 hour drive (to town), 5 minutes by cable car

Getting there:

Ride the Nankai Electric Railway from Namba Station in Osaka to Gokurakubashi Station at the base of the mountain. Then ride a cable car going up the mountain. You could also drive up the mountain, however take note that your tires should be able to run through slippery roads especially in winter season.

Itinerary:
9AM - Departure from Namba Station by Koya 1 rail in Osaka Pref.
10:30AM - Arrival at Gukurakubashi Station 
10:40AM - Departure for Koyasan Station from Gukurakubashi Station by funicular.
10:45 AM - Arrival at Koyasan Station
10:45 AM Onwards - Tour Mt. Koya by bus or by foot... Follow the map below.
After the tour you might want to choose to go back to your hotel or stay in one of Mt. Koya's temple inns. *

*I did not include the rates for the tour but if you're planning to visit this place prepare 30,000 Yen pax.

If you want a guided tour of Mt. Koya, here's a link of the rates and reservation fees- World Heritage Mt. Koya 1-Day Tour


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