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As a popular pilgrimage destination for centuries, Koyasan has been connected to the outside world by a network of pilgrimage trails. While most visitors enter the mountain by cablecar these days, many of the pilgrimage trails still exist and remain in use by hikers who prefer the traditional approach.

The original main approach to Koyasan is along the Koyasan Choishi Michi trail, which begins at Kudoyama Station on the Nankai Koya Line. The trail is marked by stone signposts (choishi) which stand every few hundred meters along the path so that pilgrims can find their way. The markers are numbered (in kanji) in descending order with number one at Koyasan and are formed to represent the five Buddhist elements: earth, water, fire, air and void.

The entire Choishi Michi trail is about 23.5 kilometers long and takes around seven hours to hike. The trip may be shortened by two hours and four hours respectively by starting from the alternate trailheads at Kami-Kosawa or Kii-Hosokawa Stations. The hiking trail ends at the Daimon Gate, a two story tall, crimson gate that marks the traditional entrance to Koyasan, but the markers continue on to the Garan.

A less historic approach, the Fudozaka Trail, leads to Koyasan from Gokurakubashi Station, the lower station of the Koyasan Cablecar. The steep, paved trail is 2.5 kilometers long and takes about an hour to ascend. Considerably less to descend. The trail ends at the Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo temple hall.

The Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo is the only surviving of a total of seven Nyonindo (lit. "woman halls") built around Koyasan's perimeter. The halls used to cater to female visitors who were banned from entering the temple town before 1872. A trail, called the Women Pilgrims Course, leads around the perimeter of Koyasan from the Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo past the ruins of the other Nyonindo to the entrance of Okunoin. It is about seven kilometers long and takes about 2.5 hours to hike.

A more challenging pilgrimage trail is the Kohechi Trail, part of the Kumano Kodo trail network, which connects Koyasan to the sacred shrines of Kumano. Be aware that it is a long and remote mountainous route that takes nearly a week to hike and requires proper planning and equipment to undertake.

Getting there and around

Daimon Gate stands at the western end of the town of Koyasan, about a 10-15 minute walk or short bus ride from the town center. Nyonindo is a 15-20 minute walk or five minute bus ride from the town center in direction of the cablecar station.

How to get to and around Koyasan

Hours and Fees

Daimon Gate

Hours

Closed

Admission

Nyonindo Hall

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Mount Koya

Top rated on Mount Koya
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    • Guest House Suzumeno Kakurembo
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Koyasan and within 37 km of Tama Museum, Guest House Suzumeno Kakurembo features a restaurant, non-smoking rooms, and free WiFi. This 2-star guest house offers luggage storage space. Itakiso Shrine is 44 km from the guest house and Jodo-ji Temple is 44 km away. Guests at the guest house will be able to enjoy activities in and around Koyasan, like hiking. Kishi Station is 37 km from Guest House Suzumeno Kakurembo, while Matsushita Park is 44 km away. 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. The 1-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is situated 45 km from Matsushita Park. At the guest house, rooms are fitted with a desk and a flat-screen TV. At Koyasan Guest House Tommy each room comes with bed linen and towels. The accommodation offers a ? la carte or American breakfast. Itakiso Shrine is 45 km from Koyasan Guest House Tommy, while Jodo-ji Temple is 45 km away. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 61 km from the guest house.
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    • Koyasan Syukubo Ekoin Temple
      Mid-range
      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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    • Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin
      Mid-range
      Located in Koyasan, within 39 km of Tama Museum and 39 km of Kishi Station, Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin provides accommodation with a garden and as well as free private parking for guests who drive. This 3-star ryokan offers luggage storage space. The ryokan features family rooms. At the ryokan, each room includes a wardrobe. Each room comes with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV, and certain rooms at Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin have a balcony. At the accommodation all rooms have bed linen and towels. Guests at Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin can enjoy a vegetarian breakfast. Matsushita Park is 45 km from the ryokan, while Itakiso Shrine is 45 km away. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 62 km from Koyasan Shukubo Fudoin.
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    • Sojiin
      Luxury
      Located at the heart of Mount Koya, Sojiin offers Japanese-style accommodations in a Buddhist temple. Vegan meals are served for dinner and breakfast. Sakai is 42 km from Soji. The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport, 40 km from the property.
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    • Yochi-in
      Budget-friendly
      Located in the sacred Mount Koya area, Yochi-in is a historic temple and an accommodation for visitors. Just to the left of entering sanmon gate, there is a stone garden created by the famous Mirei Shigemori and designated a natural monument by the Japanese government. Guests can experience temple activities such as meditation, sutra copying and tracing of Buddhist deities at an additional charge, if reserved in advance. Guests can also participate in morning prayers, which do not require reservation. All rooms at Yochi-in are Japanese-style and feature tatami (woven-straw) floors. Traditional futon bedding, a TV, fan and heater are provided. Bathroom and toilet are shared with other guests. The spacious public baths feature a hot tub. On-site luggage storage is available. Guests with reservations that include a meal can enjoy delicately prepared homemade vegetarian meals featuring seasonal dishes. Convenience stores are located within a 3-minute walking distance from the property. It is a 10-minute walk from the famous Kongobuji Temple. Guests can visit the Buddhist temple, Danjogaran, just a 3-minute walk away.
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    • Jokiin
      Mid-range
      Located in Koyasan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jokiin offers free private parking. All rooms include a flat-screen TV. Certain rooms have a seating area where you can relax. Rooms have a shared bathroom. Jokiin features free WiFi throughout the property. There is luggage storage space at the property. Guests can participate in the morning prayers upon request. The property is a minute's walk from Kongobu-ji Temple. The temple building is also situated nearby.
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    • Koyasan Saizenin
      Mid-range
      Located in the sacred Koyasan area, Saizenin offers simple accommodation surrounded by mountains and many temples. Originally developed as a lodging for the templesf 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 Koyasan 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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