Mount Koya @ Wakayama - Japan

We have listed this place Koyasan as our top priority destination
during our recent trip to Japan. It is one of the most sacred
mountains in their country which is really amazing and nice.
This Mount Koya or Koyasan is so interesting that we decided
to visit again in future and stay overnight on this mountain
as a good retreat for our mind, body and soul.




1. We took a Nankai Electric Railway train for 2 hours from Osaka to
Wakayama Prefecture where Mount Koya is.




 2. The train ride was very relaxing to weave in & out of many mountains and
tunnels passing endless of quaint houses and hamlets in the valleys.
I repeatedly asked myself if I could ever survive in these peaceful 
and quiet towns.




3. After changing another train, we finally arrived the Gokurakubashi 
train station to board the cable car up to the peak of Mount Koya.




 3. It is so steep and took us 5 minutes to reach the top. The buses
were ready to fetch anyone to the nearby quaint town.





 4. Koyasan has over 116 temples and a population of just 3000 people. 
This unknown place was once a male-revered area only 100 years ago. 
I got this above photo from here to share the aerial view showing
the town's lotus leaf shape! The photographer was smart to snap the
snow covered roofs during one winter for better view of the shape.




 5. The bus passed the small interesting town before ending outside
our final destination at Okunoin Temple which has a cemetery of over
200,000 gravestones!



6. We did the usual cleansing ritual to purify ourselves before
walking some 2 kilometers across the cemetery to reach the 
Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. This famous monk Kobo Daishi who is 
better known as Kukai introduced the important Shingon Buddhism 
sect to Japan in year 805. Monk Kukai is one of Japan's most 
significant religious figures with long recorded history dating 
back to 1200 years ago where he had earlier sailed to Fujian in China
before going to Xian and Dunhuang to study Buddhism.
This November, we will be heading to Xian and Dunhuang too.




7. It was very cold and chilly around 0 degrees as we slowly walked
and passed all the tombs, mausoleums and memorials. The whole
cemetery is very huge spanning across few kilometers.

The whole cemetery is open to public with a fee to use their
portable "Audio Guide" for tourists but we didn't use them.




 8. I was very calm and felt peaceful to tip toe along this well spaced
cemetery paths and observed the Japanese way of burying and respecting
those who passed away since a thousand years ago.




 9. According to the superstition of the Shingon Buddhist School
there are no dead in Okunoin, but only waiting spirits! You should
read the link if you wish to understand why most Japanese folks
believe about this powerful Monk Kukai until many wanted to
be buried outside his mausoleum.
 



  10. I was very surprised to learn that in Japan, many big conglomerates and
big companies would set up memorials inside this cemetery to honour all the
dead who were formerly their employees. The above rocket's memorial tomb
was built in memory of all those who died in their aviation industry.




11. The above is the memorial by the Nissan Motors for all
their departed employees. I wonder whether my greedy bosses have
such good hearts.




 12. The above is a family's spacious mausoleum where the 
old parents's statues are resting at the sofa on the right.
I could spot the 3 auspicious Feng Shui design pillar towers
in the middle.




 13. The whole place was lighted up as it quickly grew dark
during the Winter. Naturally, there were creepy shadows everywhere.
My chicken heart gave me goosebumps and my hair stood upright.





 14. When I am scared of ghosts, I must look for my wife!
She knows that, after seeing how I hid behind her when
we entered the Haunted House in Disneyland, Hong Kong.
The masked vampire pounced on me screaming at my neck!
 I freaked out madly and repeatedly punched him so bloody hard
until the vampire cried loudly & pulled my shirt to wrestle!
Wakakakaka




15. Some unique old tomb stones with green moss all over.
Now can you spot the auspicious Feng Shui tower in the middle tower?





 16. This mausoleum is over 600 years old and was built
for Matsudaira Hideyasu (1574 - 1607) and his mother.







17. In Winter, most deity statues would be wrapped nicely
with knitted caps and jacket as a seasonal gesture of respect.




18. This is another unique eye opener for me to see the names
of those who served in the marine industry during their lifetime.
They placed the written name tablets into the river which
I would assume connects & flows down to the open sea.
I sent this photo to my good friend Keitaro Kobayashi who
kindly explained this.




19. It was my first time seeing so many tall Cedar Trees
which are as old as 600 years and stands close to 200 feet high! 
Their bulletin boards mentioned over 1300 Cedar Trees are
found inside this huge forest.
I love their fresh smells and good feeling to admire the trees which
have survived so many seasons, wars and earthquake disasters!
I am a regular user of this pure Cedar Wood Essential Oils
which is very good for our health and well being.




20. Many heavenly statues line the bridge to one of the temples.




21. At the entrance leading to the Gobyo Mausoleum Of Monk Kukai.
Photography is strictly prohibited beyond this point as
the Japanese believe he is still alive inside in eternal meditation.
Please read the board below.





22. We walked inside and placed candles & joss sticks before offering our prayers.
I also requested the monks to chant 3 day prayer dedication for my late mother
and father-in-law. The closed mausoleum is located behind the big temple building.




23. I believe that this sacred place has many wandering spirits where some
people could hear their whispers too. Can you see this old tree that has a
face on it?? He said "Come Again"...




We will visit again someday & sleep inside the temples
beside this huge Okunoin Cemetery which is the largest 
 cemetery in the whole of Japan.


 My next and last post of the Japan trip
will highlight the famous Ramen shop
in Dotonbori area.





***

Comments

  1. Good afternoon TM... Yesterday afternoon, i was raining... but today the weather is so hot...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good Afternoon Zumba Queen.

      The weather is less hotter today. My face creams have been reduced too!

      Delete
  2. Picture no. 23, can see that the tree is quite old...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That old tree looked spooky to me as it could talk!!

      Delete
  3. TM, this is such an interesting place. I looked in awe at the photos. But this scaredy cat auntie probably won't have the courage to visit. I am more chicken heart compared to you. Enough lah I see from your post. You made me laugh like mad what you wrote in pic 14.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes this place is very interesting indeed but we regretted for not having a full day up there. So next trip should reward us at least 2 full days to discover more spooky tales.

      Delete
  4. Such an interesting place. And just imagine, Koyasan used to bar women from entering the sacred mountain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was really taken aback about this place being an all male place over 100 years before that. I could not guess their reasons prohibiting ladies. Then my thoughts about the sombre funerals with burials without women folks?? Maybe can ask Rurousha!!

      Delete
  5. I really surprise that a "graveyard" can be a tourist spot too! The story of your experience in Disneyland's haunted house is true? U really punch the vampire? OMG!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we planned to pay respects to the Monk Kukai's mausoleum, we were aware of a cemetery somewhere outside but not expecting that huge of this scale with so much to observe and learn.

      Oh yes, my story punching the hired vampire was real and he pleaded me to stop! That was not my first time punching vampires inside a haunted house when I freaked out. LOL

      Delete
  6. Picture 14 That's why I scared to enter haunted house, last time when I enter, I close my eyes tightly and must aware they will be someone pounced into me xp

    Picture 17 is so cute la, I wonder do they change to other clothes or not during summer, hmm....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you always could feel and sense the unseen presence, then I guess they were actually there!! Woohoo!

      I must visit in Summer and Spring to see what attire the worshipers would bring.

      Delete
  7. Interesting to see but I think I would skip this area... if it makes you stand on goosepumps, I cannot imagine what it does to me. Even in Nanjing cemetery, I could feel the eeriness when I entered the indoor area... maybe the lightings and the soft sad music played a part of the gloominess. Really salute you and your wife, going all the way up... By the way, you really punched the masked vampire ah? I think he learnt a lesson.. never breathe down a male's neck! hahahaha..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would not have traveled so far and scale up 3000 feet just to see cemeteries but we went with intention to visit the famous temple and mausoleum. It ended up being an eye opener for me to share the cemetery photos instead since the actual main temple strictly forbids photography! LOL

      Delete
  8. I am always a lone traveler but I will only visit this place if I have some companions with me. I do believe that some spirits will choose someone to walk along with and being by myself, I will be susceptible to their invisibility and choice. I could hear and dream about dead people alive and speaking to me so walking and taking a spirit home after the visit would be very eerie. Kudos to the Japanese people for the sacredness, sanctity, and dedication to the departed. I am honoured to walk with you through your descritpions and pictures.

    That ghost wrestling you did in HK should be viewed at youtube.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could never travel alone like you during my bachelor days. I had to drag someone along otherwise I would be talking alone.

      I do believe that your sensitive wires and vibes could sense & connect with the unseen sometimes. I wish you could visit this unique Mount Koya someday as it is UNESCO's World Heritage too!

      Now after telling people I punched this fake vampire who was merely doing his paid job to scare the visitors, I realised I was lucky for not being charged for public assault! Phew! I often had sleep nightmares where I was fighting with enemies. I think I have bashed my poor wife several times in my sleep too. Muahahaha

      Delete
  9. Thank you for all the photos and info because I wouldn't dare visit this place because I find it very eerie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I am weird for bravely making just a visit there, not expecting my blog post would cover the tombstones instead as the temple forbids photography... I often thought that those funeral undertakers and graveyard diggers are the bravest! LOL

      Delete
  10. Very interesting place. But the cemetery a bit scary lah...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey you are a grown and matured man too! LOL

      Delete
  11. The cedar trees are very tall and give a nice ambience to the place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the cedar trees are very tall and looked like pine trees to me. Now I have learnt to differentiate their leaves.

      Delete
  12. I am sure there are many wandering spirits up there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wandering spirits are everywhere including your house and office!

      Delete
  13. The train ride indeed looks pleasant, not scary or something like that.. And many people there too, so yeah, not so scary.. I read somewhere if people feel like wanting to die, or want to go commit suicide (due to stress or whatever), they will go alone to the mountains, walk til their feet cannot walk anymore, get lost inside and never come out ever again.. But this mountain looks ok, with the bus stations, statues, got tourists and all, lots of people in & out everyday, so it's not scary la, like Anabelle is hiding somewhere between the trees, waiting for any human to come in, so that she can jump out and take their souls..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so expert in this theory which makes sense. Now this reminds me of the famous Jim Thompson who got lost in Cameron Highlands and his silk business in Thailand has been flourishing in his name till today.

      That Koyasan is a very small and spotlessly clean town with many neat shops! You will love it there as the air is so fresh too. That's why Anabelles love that place too. LOL

      Delete
  14. I also scared of ghosts and I have vivid imagination, always imagine "something" is standing behind of me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You must have got good senses otherwise you would not feel scared with their invisible presence.

      Delete
  15. I also won't visit this place as by only looking at the photos, I already find the place eerie and spooky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have expected that most readers would not dare to visit this place. The long journey and hours would build their fear and worries to maximum! LOL

      Before that, I had no idea that the cemetery is the biggest in the whole of Japan!

      Delete
  16. Thanks for sharing... your story and photos. That's why I would not enter any Haunted House! But this place definitely look serene. You can read Feng Shui too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that the cemetery looked serene and peaceful. The walking paths are spacious outside but got narrower as it led towards the ancient temple. I have strong interests and beliefs in the feng Shui topics but not an expert.

      Delete
  17. The rich historical stories behind this holy place is remarkable especially the tombs.

    I have read a bit of the cedar wood essential oil and sample it before but didn't quite used to the aroma.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This Mount Koya is quite unknown to many tourists and those who knew may not have interests to travel so far after weighing their tourist attractions.

      Cedar Wood doesn't smell fragrant but it smells pleasant when evaporated on our skins and its healing properties are extremely benefiting to the users.

      Delete
  18. I will include this in my list for the next Osaka trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am pretty sure you would love this place and probably end up becoming a monk there someday! Why not??

      Delete
  19. Majikayo?! Even cemetery also collects entrance fee and has audio guide?? It just feels... weird...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yo! Man! I think my writings have been misquoted due to my confusing lines. My humble apologies here and the cemetery does not charge any fee for entrance.

      Just the audio guides which need a fee.

      Delete
  20. It is like a guided tour, the Japanese is one strong believer of fengshui too...I guess this place is not opened for tourists during night time..a bit scary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the Japanese do believe in Feng Shui too as they understand its theory on scientific flow of energy etc.

      Delete
  21. I could sense the peace through your pictures… I ever seen or hear such a huge cemetery exhibiting different style of mausoleums, uniquely built in shape of things related to their lives. The tall trees make wow... and how strong to stand over centuries? Wish the environment stays this way forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also wish that our earth and nature could flourish on with peace and calmness till eternity.

      Delete
  22. Berapa banyak photo ni.... scrol till my claws ketot liao

    1. 2 hrs scenic train ride is good leh

    2.why not? Lol....you scared you will miss your office ah

    3.climb 5 mins ah..cham...lazy bum like me sure semput

    4. Wow... so many temples 10 temples for every 1000 ppl

    7. Got audio guide ah but you hv done reserch so no need la

    8. I would have thought you bumpninto somebody famous there as you usually do when you travel. Lol
    9.An interesting believe. No death. Like muslim and christian. No death.

    10. The company there very good wor. Care for the employee not only for this life but also after life.

    12. Must be a well to do famous family
    13. U chicken heart ka? You very brave wat

    14.laugh die me la anay

    16. 600 years old and still standing. Very good leh. I wonder the decendants still visit
    17. That's then waynut should be
    18. Kinda sad seeing this. Feels like their spirit trapped in the water.

    19.lucky never got chopped off.

    20
    . Not surprising. There are some who have achieve deity.

    23. Kalah the trees from Narnia. Lucky you tarak laser mouth there else kena lempang by the tree. Got tree spirit dei

    24.oppp.... no 24...kihkihkih

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for you multiple comments! You really drop a hair balls of comments always. Muahahaha

      Delete
  23. Hi! Nice trip to Mt.Koyasan. We have not been there. I enjoyed your post very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comments. I hope you will visit this place someday.

      Delete
  24. Anay, picture 19 is so beautiful, and you look like Korean actor with those tall cedar trees as the background. Great shot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! I looked like Korean actor? Thank you and I shall pose more in future.

      Delete
  25. very beautiful place and the tranquility is surely soothing to make all people feel calm and peaceful.. I always like how the Japanese preserve their heritage and culture, the deed not only benefits their own people but also the generations of the rest of the world..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Porky Babimas Boy!

      This place is really remarkable and nice to see how their culture has been preserved for over a thousand years. The war torn countries need to learn from here.

      Delete
  26. hihihi, big boss. have been very busy! LOL, add me @facebook. hahahaha~


    Nice view in Japan, have yet gotten the chance to visit thre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lame excuse that you have been busy for one whole year. Tsk! Tsk! You need to learn better time management so that you have 10% of time for blogs daily.

      Delete
  27. I just realise the tree in photo #24 is smiling at us (eerie)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it was a natural thing and my wife spotted it there. I thought it looked funny and not eerie.

      Delete
  28. That was nice to travel up mountain during winter ! I am sure it was super cold up there but I am sure you love it ! The place is so clean and pure with the white snow !

    Ah.. I heard about monk Kukai, from the Kitaro music which he composed 4 CDs dedicated to this monk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey you always do speed reading as usual. There was no snow during my trip. LOL

      I am so surprised that Kitaro composed 4 CDs for Monk Kukai... I need to check it out.

      Delete
  29. Looks this place is full of tombs or is there a large cemetery there ? No wonder you so scary cat ... Always hiding behind your wife with so many graveyards there !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weeiii you talk so big. Wait till you go there and freak out. LOL

      Delete
  30. I love the scenery of the tall tall trees! Wah . So aromatic there, I don't mind standing or sitting there for hours to enjoy the aromatherapy !! After all, it's cold with beautiful scenery !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah i love those tall trees and they are so old & majestic looking. We don't have such beautiful forests in our country.

      Delete
  31. Very serene place, almost too peaceful to be scared. Hahaha! I actually enjoy watching horror movies :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the place looked so serene and suitable for a cemetery.

      I could not believe that such a prim and proper lady of elegance like you loves to watch horror movies! Wooooo!

      Delete
  32. That parents on sofa idea is out of this world

    ReplyDelete

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