Wakayama
General Information
Wakayama Prefecture
The way to the origins of the spiritual tradition of Japan

The Wakayama Prefecture is located on the Honshû Island. In the North it borders on the Ôsaka Prefecture and in the Northeast on the Prefectures Nara and Mie. Mountains and nature determine the landscape. The capital of Wakayama Prefecture is the City of Wakayama. The other large cities and towns are: Arida, Hashimoto, Kinokawa, Tanabe, Gobô, Kainan, Shingû and Iwade. The most of them are coastal cities. The region is famous for its breathtaking wonderful nature in correspondence with many Shinto shrines and pilgrimage routes (since 2004 on the Unesco World Heritage List: "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range").

map - under construction
Sightseeing
Koyasan

Koyasan is a mountaintop basin some 6km east-west and 2km north-south, where in 816 Kukai - the monk Kobodaishi - opened his first seminary for practicing the asceticism of the esoteric sect of Shingon Buddhism. The area is surrounded by mountains 1000m in height. During the heydays of the Edo Period, there stood over 2000 temples, halls and cloisters. Today, it continues to observe the teachings of Buddha as the center of Shingon Buddhism.

Konpon Daito

Standing 48,5m tall and 25m on each side at the base, this tower befittingly is named: daito literally means "big tower". It is the symbol of Koyasan. Inside are a statue of the Buddha Saint Mahavairocana and statues of the four Vajra saints located at the four cardinal points. On the 16 columns are images of 16 saints done by 20th artist Insho Domoto, while murals of the 8 founders of Shingon Buddhism adorn the four corners.

Kumano

Since long, long ago, Kumano, in the southern end of the Kii mountains, has been known as the land of the gods. Faith in Kumano Sanzan - the three grand shrines of Kumano Hongu, Kumano Nachi and Kumano Hayatama - led emperors and nobility of the Heian Period to these unexplored regions in search of heaven on earth. This practice spread to commoners by the Edo Period.

Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine

Sitting silently at the foot of Mt. Gongen, Kumano Hayatama-taisha is one of the three Kumano Grand Shrines. On the grounds of the vibrant cinnabar red shrinestands a giant Chinese black pine that is more than 1000 years old. Named a Natural Monument of Japan, the faithful and hopeful stand before it and wish for safe travel, safety at sea and the blessing of finding true love. The museum of treasures has many rare artifacts concerning the pilgrimage to Kumano that are designated as National Treasures, such as a colorfully painted fan made of cedar and a ceremonial beaded belt.

Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine

Shrine is the heart of Kumano Sanzan where the faithful head for on pilgrimage to Kumano. It is the head shrine of more than 3000 affiliated shrines across Japan. Until 1889, the main hall stood in Oyunohara on a sandbar where the Otonashi River and Iwata River converged, but part of the shrine was washed away be flooding, so it was moved to its present location. Climbing to the top of the stone steps that preserve the look of times past, you discover the awe-inspiring banner of the three-legged Yatagarasu crow that serves as the avatar of Kumano.

 
In Shukubo on the Koyasan, Shojin-dish (Shojin-Ryori)
 
Transportation
Koyasan Free Service (valid 2 days)
* The ticket price depends on the departure station (e.g. from Namba: JPY 2780)
  • Two-ways ticket (one stop by the Nankai line - Takayama Station)
  • Day ticket for the Nankai line bus (within Koyasan)
  • Entrance fee reduction (Kongobu-ji, Kondo-Kompondaito, Reiho-kan)
  • Shopping voucher (Juzuyashirobe-shoten, Shin-nakanohashi-kaikan)
Accomodation
<Shukubo> In Koyasan there are ca. 117 Temples and in most of them it is possible to stay overnight.
Fukuchi-in
The Great Shukubo (temple) in Koyasan

2-pers. room: from EUR 74 (person/night)
3-pers. room: from EUR 66
4-pers. room: from EUR 59
* incl. breakfast and dinner

Sekisho-in

2-pers. room: from EUR 105 (person/night)
3-pers. room: from EUR 97
4-pers. room: from EUR 90
* incl. breakfast and dinner

Voice-Guide Rental

Guiding tours are offered among others in: Kongobu-ji, Okuno-in (temple).

Rental office: Chuo- or Ichinohashi Koyasan tourist office

Guiding time: 8.30 am – 4.30 pm
(Please bring the voice-guide back to the rental office immidiately after the guided tour. If you stay in a shukubo it is possible to restitute the voice guide on the following forenoon)

Restitution: Chuo, Koyasan, Nakanohashi or Ichinohashi Koyasan tourist office

Rental fee: JPY 500,- per day and exemplar (only one voice-guide per person possible)

Languages: English, French, Chinese, Korean and Japanese

 
 
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