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Legend has it that Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, threw his sankosho (a double ended, three pronged Buddhist ceremonial tool) from China, where he had been studying, toward Japan. Back in Japan, while in search of a place to headquarter his new religion, he came across his sankosho stuck in the branches of a pine tree on Koyasan and started construction of the Garan, Koyasan's central temple complex. The pine tree, that caught the sankosho, is still growing there.

The two most prominent buildings of the Garan are the Kondo Hall and the huge Konpon Daito Pagoda. The Kondo Hall is a large wooden temple hall where major ceremonies are held. The building has burned down multiple times over the centuries, and the current hall dates back to 1932. It enshrines an image of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing.

Next to the Kondo Hall stands the vermilion Konpon Daito Pagoda, a 45 meter tall, two tiered, tahoto style pagoda. A statue of the Dainichi Nyorai (Cosmic Buddha, also known as Variocana), the central Buddha in Shingon Buddhism, stands in the middle of the pagoda's interior and is surrounded by statues and paintings on pillars, which together make up a rare three dimensional mandala (a metaphysical map of the cosmos). Mandala are usually two dimensional paintings.

Kobo Daishi started building the Kondo Hall and Daito Pagoda, however he was not able to finish them himself. His successors completed the construction of the two main structures and also expanded the grounds of the Garan with multiple additional halls and pagodas over time. Among these are the Toto (eastern pagoda), Saito (western pagoda), Miedo (founder's hall) and Koya Myojin Shrine, which enshrines Mount Koya's local kami (Shinto deities).

Getting there and around

The Garan lies in central Koyasan's town center, about a five minute walk from the Senjuinbashi intersection, and just a few steps from Kongobuji Temple.

How to get to and around Koyasan

Hours and Fees

Garan Grounds

Hours

Closed

Admission

Kondo Hall and Daito Pagoda

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Mount Koya

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      Situated in Koyasan, Guest House hachi hachi is a sustainable accommodation, 37 km from Tama Museum and 37 km from Kishi Station. The 1-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a shared bathroom and free WiFi. The accommodation features full-day security, and luggage storage for guests. At the guest house, each unit includes a desk. All units have a tatami. A bicycle rental service is available at the guest house. Matsushita Park is 43 km from Guest House hachi hachi, while Itakiso Shrine is 43 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 60 km from the accommodation.
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    • Koyasan Guest House Tommy
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring 1-star accommodation, Koyasan Guest House Tommy is located in Koyasan, 38 km from Tama Museum and 38 km from Kishi Station. Among the facilities at this property are luggage storage space and bicycle parking, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The guest house features family rooms. At the guest house, every unit has a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. A fridge and kettle are also provided. A selection of options including fruits and cheese is served for the American breakfast. There is a coffee shop on-site. Matsushita Park is 45 km from the guest house, while Itakiso Shrine is 45 km away. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 61 km from Koyasan Guest House Tommy.
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    • ‚–์ŽR h–V ŒbŒ๕‰@ -Koyasan Syukubo Ekoin Temple-
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      A 1000 year-old Buddhist temple, Shukubo Koya-san Eko-in offers Japanese-style accommodation, a beautiful garden and free WiFi. Guests are free to attend Buddhist morning services, the Goma fire ritual and meditation. Rooms feature tatami-mat flooring, comfortable futon bedding and paper sliding screens. They are fitted with an LCD TV and a safe. Bathroom facilities are shared, and the public baths are open 16:00-22:00 and 06:00-09:00 daily. Shukubo Temple is close to other ancient Buddhist buildings such as Kongobu-ji Temple, which is a 10-minute walk. The Ichi-no-Hashi entrance to the ancient Okuno-In Temple is a 3-minute walk away. Guests can experience group meditation, and they can write Buddhist texts with a brush and ink on scrolls at their room. They can also go hiking in the scenic surroundings of Koya-san Eko-in. The temple has a lounge with a PC corner. Meals are served at the guest room at scheduled times and feature Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, and gluten-free meals can be requested at an additional fee. Groups of 4 or more persons dine at the Japanese-style dining room, where chairs can be provided upon advance request.
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    • Guest House Suzumeno Kakurembo
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Koyasan, Guest House Suzumeno Kakurembo is a sustainable accommodation, 37 km from Tama Museum and 37 km from Kishi Station. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, full-day security and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi. Matsushita Park is 44 km away and Itakiso Shrine is 44 km from the guest house. At the guest house, some units are soundproof. Jodo-ji Temple is 44 km from the guest house, while Shipporyu-ji Temple is 44 km away. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 60 km from Guest House Suzumeno Kakurembo.
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    • ‚–์ŽR h–V —ด๒‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Ryusenin-
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      Offering a garden and garden view, ‚–์ŽR h–V —ด๒‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Ryusenin- is set in Koyasan, 39 km from Kishi Station and 45 km from Matsushita Park. Offering free private parking, the 3-star ryokan is 39 km from Tama Museum. Shipporyu-ji Temple is 46 km from the ryokan and Subaru Hall is 48 km away. Units are fitted with a shared bathroom with slippers. At the ryokan, the units have air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. Itakiso Shrine is 45 km from the ryokan, while Jodo-ji Temple is 45 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 62 km from ‚–์ŽR h–V —ด๒‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Ryusenin-.
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      Offering a garden and inner courtyard view, ‚–์ŽR ^“c–V ˜@‰ุ’่‰@ Rengejoin is situated in Koyasan, 39 km from Tama Museum and 39 km from Kishi Station. Each accommodation at the 4-star ryokan has garden views, and guests can enjoy access to a public bath. The ryokan features rooms with air conditioning, free private parking and free WiFi. At the ryokan, each unit is fitted with a tatami. There is a private bathroom with bidet in some units, along with bathrobes, slippers and a hair dryer. All units have a safety deposit box. An Asian breakfast is available each morning at the ryokan. Matsushita Park is 46 km from ‚–์ŽR ^“c–V ˜@‰ุ’่‰@ Rengejoin, while Itakiso Shrine is 46 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 62 km from the accommodation.
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    • ‚–์ŽR h–V •s“ฎ‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin-
      Mid-range
      Offering a garden and garden view, ‚–์ŽR h–V •s“ฎ‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin- is located in Koyasan, 39 km from Kishi Station and 45 km from Matsushita Park. Providing free private parking, the 3-star ryokan is 39 km from Tama Museum. The ryokan features family rooms. At the ryokan, all units come with a wardrobe. Every unit has air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV, and certain units at the ryokan have a balcony. At the ryokan, the units include bed linen and towels. Itakiso Shrine is 45 km from the ryokan, while Jodo-ji Temple is 45 km away. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 62 km from ‚–์ŽR h–V •s“ฎ‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin-.
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      Featuring a garden and views of garden, ‚–์ŽR h–V ‘ๅ–พ‰ค‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Daimyououin- is a sustainable ryokan set in Koyasan, 39 km from Kishi Station. The air-conditioned accommodation is 39 km from Tama Museum, and guests can benefit from private parking available on site and free WiFi. The ryokan features a public bath and full-day security. At the ryokan, the units are fitted with a tatami, a flat-screen TV, a shared bathroom, bed linen and towels. Guests at the ryokan can enjoy a vegetarian breakfast. Matsushita Park is 45 km from ‚–์ŽR h–V ‘ๅ–พ‰ค‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Daimyououin-, while Itakiso Shrine is 45 km away. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 62 km from the accommodation.
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    • ‚–์ŽR h–V ผ‘T‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Saizenin-
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      Located in the sacred Koyasan area, Saizenin offers simple accommodation surrounded by mountains and many temples. Originally developed as a lodging for the templesf pilgrims, it conducts Buddhist services every morning that guests can attend. Nankai Koyasan Train Station is a 15-minute drive away. Fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and traditional futon bedding, each room comes with a flat-screen TV and a seating area. A safety deposit box is also provided. The ‚–์ŽR h–V ผ‘T‰@ -Koyasan Shukubo Saizenin- features luggage storage and free parking. Kansai International Airport is 40 km away. Nankai Namba Train Station in Osaka is a 2-hour train ride from the proprety. Healthy vegetarian meals are served in the guest room or in the dining room for dinner and breakfast.
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