At Wakayama, one of the MUST GO place is definitely Mount Koya or Koyasan. Koyasan is one of the religious location steeped in Japanese Shingon Buddhism, where there is opportunities to see many famous and majestic temples, some offering lodgings to visitors too. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. For me personally, it was one of the place that I managed to see overnight snow in Autumn, for its attitude is ~ 900m above ground!
To get to Koyasan is not hard. If my memory serves me right, we bought our tickets from Gokurakubashi station for the Cable Car ride to Koyasan Station. From Koyasan Station, we got our 1-Day Bus Pass (Adult 800Yen, Child 400Yen) that would serve to ferry us from point-to-point within Koyasan. Believe me, you will need it. There is alot of walking to be done there even with the full-day Bus Pass available.
Our first stop here was Kongobuji Temple, the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism throughout Japan. The temple showcases work of art dating back to the early Edo period, like the one shown below of the Cranes on the sliding door. It is done in gold flakes, and in order to preserve the colors for the years to come, even flash photography is not allowed!
What strike me most and left the deepest impression is the Banryutei Rock Garden within Kongobuji Temple. This is also the largest rock garden in Japan with a design supposed to show a pair of dragons emerging from a sea of clouds to protect the Okuden. To be honest, I have little artistic flair to determine which of the rocks are the dragons, and which are the clouds 😀
Nevertheless, the garden emits a sense of serenity, tranquility and peace. As I walk along the corridors of the temple, I could almost feel myself at peace with nature …. It is only there and then that I could almost fathom the meaning of the state of Zen and how ancient Japanese monks achieve their enlightenment in such tranquility and quietness.
Konpon Daito was among one of my last stops there. Based on brochure information, one could actually access it for 200Yen from 0830 – 1700. We were quite late, probably 5.30 to 6pm by the time we were there. So all we could do is take some photos to take back as memories of this towering pagoda that has 4 Buddhas enshrined inside.
Part 2 of this title should be completed in about 1-2 days time 🙂 That is where we made our 2nd stop and it’s an awesome place that deserves a piece by itself! Do follow my blog to catch it hot from the press soon !!!