“As little as one hour after departing Osaka Namba station, the limited express ‘Koya’ crosses the Kino River and the atmosphere changes. Travel from this point on is not unlike venturing into a different world. A chain of mountains continue alongside the tracks all the way to Koyasan – Mt. Omine and Mt. Kumano can both be seen looming ahead of the train.
Koyasan is located in the northern part of Wakayama Prefecture in Japan’s Kansai region and was first established by Kobo Daishi (Kukai) some 1200 years ago. The area is thus deemed sacred in the Shingon Sect of Esoteric Buddhism and is home to an impressive 117 temples on its 900m high plateau. Surrounding the plateau is a ring of mountains – themselves all approximately 1000m in height. Across the plateau ancient Japanese cedars reach upwards; in the process providing shade against the summer sun.
For visitors there is a trio of major sightseeing spots: Danjo Garan, Okuno-in and Kongobuji Temple – with Danjo Garan and Okuno-in the most sacred sites. Kobo Daishi’s Gobyo (mausoleum) in Okuno-in the reason behind Okuno-in labeled such.”