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Koya-san is an alpine basin located in the mountains south of Osaka. It is the headquarters of the Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism. It was first settled in the year 816 by the monk Kukai, who usually referred to today by the name Kobodaishi.

The mountains seem, if anything, even more thinly settled than the Takayama region.
Kii Mountains

Kii Mountains

Pilgrims used to have to make an exhausting climb to reach Koya-san, but today it can easily be reached by riding in a crowded cable car which runs almost vertically up the side of the mountain.
Cable Car

Koya itself is a small town with 120 temples (and a few shrines.)






The bronze figure is Kobodaishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism.
Bronze Kobodaishi

Buddha with Bib


The stores cater mostly to tourists and therefore stock a lot of religious memorabilia: prayer beads, charms, illustrated children’s books and quite a number of beautiful and expensive figurines.

The Angry Buddha is popular with followers of Shingon. Like all Buddhas he is compassionate, but he hates sin. He carries a sword to drive away evil, and a rope to lasso people and drag them back to the path of righteousness.
Angry Buddha

This store sells granite carvings, not all of them religious.
Granite Carvings

A map of the area, on a large sign by the side of the street.
Map Sign

All Entries For This Trip.