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Koyasan Maps & Tips


Kūkai a.k.a Kōbō-Daishi

Kūkai a.k.a Kōbō-Daishi (774 – ) brought esoteric Buddhism from China, who established Koyasan as a founder of Shingon school in Japan. It is believed that he is still alive in a mausoleum of Okunoin graveyard and continues to relieve people.

History of Koyasan

Koyasan is the sacred place of Japanese Buddhism opened as a school of Shingon esoteric Buddhism which was established by Kobo Daishi in 816.
It was registered as a World Heritage Site as “Sacred Place and Pilgrimage Road of Kii Mountains” in 2004 and also granted three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan in 2009.

Nature of Koyasan

◆Actually, there is no mountain top called Koyasan. Koyasan is a basin running 3 km north-south and 6 km east-west, surrounded by 1000m-high mountains.
◆Koyasan is situated in a valley atop a highland (altitude 815m).
◆Its scale is about 630 hectares.
◆The basin gently slopes from west to east
◆Rain is gathered in the Gotegawa river flowing through the central part, heading for the Arita River (not flowing into the Kinokawa river)               
◆Up to Hanasaka (437 m), it is a warm temperate evergreen forest zone (beech and mizunara), which turns into a cool temperate louse forest zone (fir tree or tsuga) from the vicinity of Mt. Gomadanzan(1372 m), Koyasan (815 m) is at the middle, and both plants are mixed in the area.
◆Koyasan belongs to the area called Sohayaki region (Kii, Shikoku, Kyushu and the Pacific side) where where the most diverse plants in Japan can be seen. Examples of species that characterize it include Koyamaki, Togasawara, Silomoji and Jahazu hydrangea.
◆Koyasan Six Woods
In 1813, Sugi (Japanese cedar), Hinoki (Japanese cypress), Kouyamaki (umbrella pine), red pine, fir and Tsuga (Japanese hemlock) are determined as “Koya six woods,” as they are important material for building temples.

Koyasan annual events & festivals

In addition to the annual Buddhist ceremonies such as Kechienkanjyou (May 3-5 & Oct 1-3,) Kyushomieku (Lunar March 21) and candle festival (August 13,) other local festivals like Summer Bon Odori and autumn rice cake throwing festival are must-see. Various annual events are held, you can search calendar from the Koyasan Shukubo association and the website of Koyasan tourist office.


◆Tokyo to Koyasan (Shinkansen)
◆Kyoto to Koyasan
◆Osaka to Koyasan
◆Nara to Koyasan

◆KIX to Koyasan (Train)

◆KIX to Koyasan (Bus)

◆Koyasan to Hongu, Tanabe, Kumano

◆Miyajima (Hiroshima Prefecture) to Koyasan
Approximate travel time is 4 hours

[Train] Miyajimaguchi to Hirosima (30min)
[Shinkansen] Hiroshima to Shin-Osaka (1h30min)
[Train by JR line] Shin-Osaka to Shinimamiya (20min)
[Train by Nankai line] Shinimamiya to Gokurakubashi (1h40min)
[Cable car] Gokurakubashi to Koyasan(5min)

◆Yoshino (Nara prefecture) to Koyasan
Approximate travel time is 2 hours

[Train by Kintetsu line] Yoshino to Yoshinoguchi (35min)
[Train by JR line] Yoshinoguchi to Hashimoto (35min)
[Train by Nankai line] Hasimoto to Gokurakubashi (50min)
[Cable car] Gokurakubashi to Koyasan(5min)

Koya Limited Express & Cable Car

Koya Limited Express & Funicular
For those coming through Osaka to Koyasan, we recommend the express train of Nankai Electric Railway.

Nankai Electric Railway (Namba Station – Koyasan Station)
Limited Express Koya 4 roundtrip a day (about 90 minutes)nankai koya line timetable
Express every hour every 30 minutes (1 hour interval) Operation (about 2 hours) nankai koya line timetable


At Koyasan station, the bus waits for passengers according to the arrival time of the cable car, so they can get on the bus without waiting and head towards town center in about 10 minutes.
Routemap Timetable Farechart


Fare and time to each direction

There are two taxi companies in Koyasan.

◆ Aritetsu Kanko Taxi TEL.0736-56-2634 8am – 5pm
◆ Koyasan Taxi TEL.0736-56-2628 8am – 6pm

*Please note it’s not possible to get the taxi at night.

Fare and time to each direction
(* For reference, please contact the taxi company for the exact fee and time)

◆Koyasan Station → Koyasan inside ¥ 1,170 to ¥ 1,570
(about 10 minutes)
◆Koyasan → Hashimoto station ¥ 5,970 to ¥ 9,010
(about 50 minutes)
◆Koyasan → Kansai International Airport ¥ 15,490 to ¥ 23,730
(about 120 minutes)
◆Koyasan → Kumano main shrine ¥ 20,290 to ¥ 31,170
(about 180 minutes)
◆Koyasan → Kii itabe station ¥ 24,610 to ¥ 37,810
(about 150 minutes)
◆Koyasan → JR Kyoto Station ¥ 25,010 ~ ¥ 38,450
(about 150 minutes)
◆Koyasan → JR Nara station ¥ 25,010 ~ ¥ 38,450
(about 150 minutes)
◆Koyasan → Ryujin Hot Spring ¥ 11,730 ~ ¥ 17,810
(about 100 minutes)
◆Koyasan → Kawayu Onsen ¥ 21,330 to ¥ 32,690
(about 190 minutes)
◆Koyasan → Hot spring hot spring ¥ 21,330 ~ ¥ 32,770
(about 190 minutes)


Book in advance

◆TOYOTA rent-a-car橋本店/

Koyasan Map

It is a map of the whole area of Koyasan from Daimon in the west to Naka-no-hashi parking lot in the east.
koyasan Map by temple lodge Association

Koyasan Weather

◆ The altitude of Koyasan is 815 meters
◆ Compared to Wakayama city, Koyasan has an average annual temperature of 6 degrees lower, total sunshine time is 660 hours shorter, rainfall is more than 500 mm, and fog occurs frequently
◆ The annual temperature is close to Sendai city and Nagano city
◆ It is cooler than the city, humidity accumulates in the basin. Misty atmosphere of Koyasan is also exceptional.
◆ In the coldest season, the lowest temperature falls to below freezing and snowing can be over 30 cm

When to go

◆Koyasan in winter (December to February)

It is recommended because it will be a quiet period without congestion, the temples are blanketed in snow and air is also clear,. Temperatures will be lower 6 degrees colder than Tokyo and Osaka, so beware for the cold weather. Although the temperature is quite cold, It’s often windless at night in Koyasan.

◆Koyasan in spring (March to May)

Following the fire festival in March and the cherry blossoms in April, the refreshing climate of May is also exceptional. Especially after mid May, it is less crowded and the best time to enjoy a variety of plants and flowers starting to bloom one after another.

◆Koyasan in summer (June – August)

In summer you can have a pleasant time due to cool weather. Even during the hottest times like July and August, it’s rare to exceed 30 degrees. You can have a comfortable sleep without air conditioning. In June, the rainy season will make more opportunities to see the misty Koyasan, and you can also appreciate fireflies in Okuninin and the surrounding area of Koyasan.

◆Koyasan in autumn (September – November)

The best time to see autumn leaves is from mid-October to mid-November. The climate of September is refreshing without hot or cold, It is a relatively vacant period, so it’s also recommended as well as May.

Where to go

◆In addition to Kongobuji, Garan and Okunoin, we also recommend Reihokan museum which often displays autographs that Kukai wrote himself and Daimon which used to be the entrance to Mt. Koya.

◆You can also do fortune-telling with huge beads in the pagoda beside Jyofuku-in and walk in the dark in the underground.

◆Shinto shrines around koyasan

・Niutsuhime shrine: It’s said to be founded more than 1700 years ago, one of the older shrines in Wakayama and a registered World Heritage venue

・Tateriko shrine: Kukai built this shrine before founding the temples in Koyasan

・Tamaki shrine: It’s said to be the oldest shrine in Japan

◆There are other places we recommend in Koyasan, please feel free to ask us.

Onsen (Hot spring)

Hot spring around Koyasan
◆Koyasan Onsen Fukuchi-in: It is not possible to use only hot springs, you also have to stay or ask for lunch at the same time.

◆Yadori Onsen · Nosegawa Onsen: The nearest hot springs

◆Ryujin Onsen: One of Japan’s top three hot springs for enhancing beauty

◆Yunomine Onsen: Japan’s oldest hot spring

◆Kawayu Onsen: known for vast open-air bath that appears in winter

Koyasan Food

Speaking of Koyasan, it is famous for Shojin dishes that means Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, especially sesame tofu and Koya tofu.

* In some restaurants in Koyasan, even if it is indicated as Shojin, there are places where they use fish broth soup, so please check in advance if you worry.

Gluten Free

Soy sauce is not gluten free and is used in almost every dish in Japan. There is a gluten-free menu atEkoin temple in Koyasan.

Koyasan Choishimichi & Women Pilgrims Trail

In the natural forest area, you may be able to see the forest of Koyasan that Kukai saw.
Mountain climbing ·hiking Walking guidance

Koyasan Goshuin

◆Goshuin is a stamp that is given at a shrine or a temple. In Koyasan, you can get Goshuin in almost every temple. It is usually stamped on a ‘goshuin-cho’ (goshuin note) and you can buy the note in the temples or stationery shops.

◆There are also Shichifukujin-meguri (a tour of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune) in Koyasan. It’s necessary to buy a special paper board in one of the temples shown below to collect the stamps.

・Daikokuten in Hongakuin: The god of wealth usually depicted on a bag of rice, carrying a magical mallet and a bag full of treasure

・Benzaiten in Hongakuin: The goddess of water and music usually depicted playing lute

・Bishamonten in Ekoin: The god of treasure usually depicted with armor, a spear, and a small pagoda

・Ebisu in Kumagaiji: The god of business and fishing usually depicted as a middle-aged man carrying a fishing rod and a sea bream

・Hotei in Kumagaiji: The god of happiness

・Fukurokuju in Hozenin: The god of wealth and longevity usually depicted as an old man with a large bald head

・Jurōjin in Hozenin: The god of longevity usually depicted as a long-headed old man

Koyasan ATM / Currency Exchange

Post Office, JA Bank and Family Mart
*Credit card cashing service is available at the post office and JA Bank.

◆Family Mart
24 hours a day, 365 days a year
*some cards will be unavailable at midnight

◆Post Office
Weekdays 8: 45 ~ 18: 00 Saturday 9: 00 ~ 17: 00 Sunday 9: 00 ~ 15: 00 

◆JA Bank
Weekday 8:00~19:00 Saturday 8:00~21:00 Sunday 8:00~21:00

【Foreign Currency Exchange Service】
◆Nanto Bank
Weekdays 9:00~15:00
Us dollar, Euro

【Foreign Currency Exchange Machine】
◆Kiyo Bank
Every day 7:00~21:00
Us dollar, Euro, Australia dollar, Taiwan dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Thai Baht, Korea won, Chinese Yuan

Coin Locker

◆Nankai Koyasan Station
Hours: 5:30~23:00
Maximum length of usage: 3 days
Total number of lockers: 19
300 – 500 yen/day
*Ask a station worker to store your big suitcase, it might be stored in an station office 500yen /day

◆Koyasan Shukubo Association
Place: Located in the center of Koyasan, in front of Bus Stop Number 6
Hours: 24 hours
Maximum length of usage: 3 days
Total number of lockers: 24
300 – 500 yen/day
*No big suitcase

◆Shin Nakanohashi Kaikan
Place: Located in the east of Koyasan in front of Nakanohashi parking.
The nearest bus stop is Bus stop number 14.
Hours: 24 hours
Maximum length of usage: 3 days
Total number of lockers: 20
300 – 500 yen/day
*No big suitcase

◆Some accommodations have service to store baggage before check-in and after check-out. Please contact them in advance.

Manners at Shukubo lodgings


Drone use

As whole Koyasan area is privately owned by Kongobuji, it’s forbidden to use drones. Please make contact with Kongobuji for more information.

Population of Koyasan

December 2017 survey About 3,300 people (of which there are about 700 priests)

Koyasan Guest House "KOKUU"

Koyasan guesthuose Kokuu is first guesthouse in Koyasan, allowing travelers and pilgrims from all over the world to visit this beautiful place at an affordable price. An oasis of simple comfort, we created Koyasan Guesthouse Kokuu in a modern style that stays true to the essence of this sacred mountain. We welcome travelers from all over the world who are searching for a friendly and relaxed environment. We are locals running the guesthouse and thus can offer you a good insight into this sacred area, as well as some insiders tips on the best places to go.