Koyasan will really take your breath away. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a town of Buddhist temples in the mountains south of Osaka.  Even if you have seen many temples before, Koyasan will really seem like it’s in another league with it’s huge structures and massive graveyard.  English support, maps and signs are great.

Budget travel tips

  • Although some places are closed at New Year’s, everything is free!
  • 2 days is enough to see everything without rushing, so get a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket to save on costs.
  • Restaurants often close in the evening, so use the convenience store on our map below (usually open until 10:30).

Things to do

Okunoin Temple and Graveyard (FREE)

A massive graveyard with all sorts of interesting statues, graves and other structures.  The temple at the end, surrounded by the forest, is wonderful.  Get the bus to Okunoin-mae.

Open: All day

Cost: Free

Kanpon Daito Temple

A huge red temple.  Enter at the front to check out the gold statues inside. Get the bus to Daito-mae or Kondo-mae.

Open: 8:30-17:00

Cost: 200 yen

Kondo Hall

A nice contrast to the other buildings in the area. Interesting Buddhist statues and ornaments inside. Next to Kanpon Daito Temple.

Open: 8:30-17:00

Cost: 200 yen

Reihokan Museum

Full of Buddhist beautiful paintings, ornaments and culture from around Koyasan.  Get the bus to Daito-mae or Kondo-mae.

Open: 8:30-17:00

Cost: Adults 600 yen, Children 350 yen

Daimon Gate (FREE)

This large gate is the entrance to the ancient Pilgrimage Trails (see below).  Get the bus to Daimon.

Pilgrimage Trails (FREE)

The free tourist map has plenty of nice walking trails, so try a few out! For the most famous route (Koyasan Choishi Michi trail), get the bus to Daimon and walk through Daimon.  The trail starts across the road on the other side.

Tokugawa Mausoleum

A small collection of very shiny and golden Buddhist ornaments.  Get the bus to Namikiri-Fudo-mae.

Open: 8:30-17:00

Cost: 200 yen

Kongobuji Temple

The old home of a very wealthy man.  Features lots of Japanese rooms with traditional paintings and carvings. Get the bus to Kongobuji-mae.

Open: 8:30-17:00

Cost: Adults 500 yen, Children 200 yen

How to get there

To save on money get the Koyasan World Heritage Ticket.

From Nankai Nanba station (next to Nanba subway station), take the Nankai Koya line to Gokurakubashi.  You may need to change at Hashimoto. Also make sure your are in the front carriage, as the train sometimes splits at Hashimoto.  Once at Gokurakubashi station take the cable car to the top.  From here take the bus into Koyasan town.


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Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict