Japan: Kōya-san – Hundred Mountain Shrines and the Largest Cemetery - VIDEO
The valley between eight mountians is a place that Kōya-san Shingon, a Buddhist sect chose. The honorable monk Kūkai settled here in the year 819 already and the place eventually developed into whole town of pilgrimage. Today, there are over 120 shrines and a university focused on religious studies.
They say that one of the best experiences you can have in Kōya town is to stay overnight at one of the shrines. They ussually offer accomodation for pilgrims. There you learn a lot about daily life of monks, taste their simple yet deelicious vega food. The accomodation costs quie affordable prices (starting at 2 500 yet = ca. 560 CZK). Accomodation is available at quite a number of shrines. Don´t worry about not finding a place to stay at.
Let us get back a little. Train ride is quite a experience to remember. It goes uphill along the hillside and it terminates at Gokurakubashi station. There you just transfer to a cable car which gets you even higher and then one more transfer onto a bus which gets you to the town. I recommend you to buy a day-ticket for the bus.
One gets tired from long tours at shrines. They are not all the same but to spend entire time there by visiting shrines, and there are countless of them in Japan, would be a waste of time. If you have more days to spend there, go and see forests around here. It is worth it.
I loved teh Okunoin forest cemetery. I would spend there days. There are hundreds of small shrines, majestic tombs, the shrine of the founder monk Kūkai and thousands upon thousands of small Buddhist tombs which all are becoming part of the forest. Cedar trees and stone lampoon lining the road. Should I choose the place where I would be burried, Okunoin would be high on my list…
Text, photos and video: Matouš Vinš
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