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A pilgrammage around the holy town of Koyasan.


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Map Key

11.5

Miles

18.5

KM

Loop

3,225' 983 m

High

2,580' 786 m

Low

2,884' 879 m

Up

2,884' 879 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (5°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Historical Significance · River/Creek · Views

Overview

The 14-mile Koyasan Nyonin-michi route is a trail through the mountains of Koyasan. Starting at Koyasan Station, you'll journey through the sacred Okunoin Cemetery, where ancient tombstones and towering cedar trees create a serene ambiance. The trail continues, offering views of lush forests, mountain streams, and charming villages. Along the way, you'll encounter temples and shrines like Shojoshin-in and Jokiin, each with their own architectural wonders and cultural significance. Finally, you'll reach Koyasan Town, a spiritual hub filled with monasteries, temples, and shops selling local treasures.

Description

From Koyasan Station, make your way to Okunoin Cemetery, one of the largest and most sacred cemeteries in Japan. This cemetery is the final resting place of many influential figures and offers a serene and atmospheric setting.

Take your time to explore the cemetery, which is filled with ancient tombstones, stone lanterns, and towering cedar trees. It is also home to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism.

From Okunoin Cemetery, start hiking along the Nyonin-michi trail. The trail is well-marked and offers views of the surrounding mountains and lush forests.

As you continue along the trail, you'll come across Daimon Gate, a large and impressive entrance gate. Pass through the gate, which serves as the official entrance to the sacred area of Koyasan.

The Nyonin-michi route will take you through picturesque landscapes, including dense forests, mountain streams, and quaint villages. Take your time to appreciate the natural beauty of the area as you make your way along the trail.

Along the trail, you'll encounter several temples and shrines that are worth exploring. These include Shojoshin-in, Jokiin, and Nyoirin-ji Temple, each offering unique architectural features and cultural artifacts.

Eventually, the Nyonin-michi trail will lead you to Koyasan Town, the heart of the spiritual community on the mountain. This town is filled with traditional buildings, monasteries, and shops selling local products and souvenirs.

Take some time to explore Koyasan Town, visiting attractions such as Kongobu-ji Temple, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism, and the famous Garan temple complex. You can also enjoy a vegetarian Buddhist meal called shojin ryori at one of the local restaurants.

After exploring Koyasan Town, your Nyonin-michi trail journey comes to an end. You can either choose to stay overnight in one of the temple lodgings (shukubo) or make your way back to Koyasan Station to return to your starting point.

History & Background

Koyasan is the birthplace of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. It was established by the monk Kobo Daishi in the early 9th century as a center for religious study and practice. The Nyonin-michi route, often used by women pilgrims, allowed them to access the sacred area of Koyasan, which was traditionally restricted to men. This trail served as a path of spiritual devotion and provided an opportunity for women to connect with their faith. Today, the Nyonin-michi route stands as a testament to the enduring religious and cultural heritage of Koyasan.

Shared By:

Russell Hobart

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#4

in Japan

#2289

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  5.0 from 1 vote
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#4

in Japan

#8

in Japan

#2,289

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Photos

The Daimon Gate that marks the beginning of the trail.
Jun 28, 2023 near Kōya, JP

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