Koya-San is a 900m high plateau surrounded by 8 peaks which represent the petals of the lotus flower in bloom.
In 816 Kobo Dashi the founder of Shingon Buddhism build a monastic complex at Mt. Koya. It is still a sacred site and many pilgrims visit Kobo Dashi’s mausoleum each year.
The most famous temple Kongobuji and headquarter of Shingon Buddhism at Koya-San was original build by Hideyoshi in 1593 to memorialise his mother.
The temple complexes in Koya -San are vast and include monk training centres and the more recent Great Stupa rebuild in 1937 (red).
However the most impressive site in Koya-San is the enormous Buddist cemetery, Oku-no, in the middle of a vast forest with the mausoleum at its centre. Walking through the cemetery we found many historic families which we had encountered before during our travels in Japan, like the feudal lords of Matsumoto castle. There are several Memorials to fallen soldiers, the victims the atomic bomb but also the dog, the blowfish and the god of makeup.
We stayed in a lovely working monastary overnight with great vegetarian food. We were also allowed to attend morning prayers at 6am.