Complete guide to the highlights of Koyasan Okunoin

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Okunoin is one of the two sacred sites of Mount Koya. The term 'Okunoin' refers to the entire area from Ichi-no-hashi bridge, which is the entrance, to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. The approach is lined with gravestones and memorial pagodas of many notable warlords, set amid a cedar grove that boasts trees up to a thousand years old. Proceeding down the approach and crossing the Gobyo Bridge, you will find the mausoleum where Kobo Daishi Kukai entered eternal meditation, and the Lantern Hall. In this article, we will introduce the highlights of Koya-san Okunoin for travelers from both overseas and within Japan.

For a comprehensive overview of the entire Koyasan, please refer to 「Highlights and access methods of Koyasan (Wakayama Prefecture)」.

Koyasan Okunoin(0)

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Sengoku Warlord Graveyard

The approach to Okunoin is about 2km from Ichinohashi to the mausoleum, and there are more than 200,000 tombstones and memorial monuments of feudal lords in the 1,000-year-old cedar grove. In addition to the Toyotomi family and Oda Nobunaga, there are the graves of famous warlords such as Takeda Shingen, Date Masamune, Ishida Mitsunari, and Akechi Mitsuhide.

Some of the graves are difficult to find, so if there is a grave you really want to visit, we recommend checking the location on the guide map.

Oda Nobunaga Cemetery:

Oda Nobunaga Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(1)

Oda Nobunaga Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(2)

Toyotomi Family Cemetery:

Toyotomi Family Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(3)

Toyotomi Family Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(4)

Ishida Mitsunari Cemetery:

Ishida Mitsunari Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(5)

Ishida Mitsunari Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(6)

Akechi Mitsuhide Cemetery:

Akechi Mitsuhide Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(7)

Akechi Mitsuhide Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(8)

Yuki Hideyasu Cemetery:

Yuki Hideyasu Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(9)

Yuki Hideyasu Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(10)

Date Masamune Cemetery:

Date Masamune Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(11)

Date Masamune Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(12)

Uesugi Kenshin Cemetery:

Uesugi Kenshin Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(13)

Uesugi Kenshin Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(14)

Takeda Shingen Cemetery:

Takeda Shingen Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(15)

Takeda Shingen Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(16)

Asano Takumi no Kami Cemetery:

Asano Takumi no Kami Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(17)

Asano Takumi no Kami Cemetery: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(18)

Torodo(Lantern Hall)

The building in front of you over the Gobyou-bashi bridge is the Torodo(Lantern Hall). More than 20,000 lanterns donated by Koyasan worshipers are hung in the Torodo in front of the mausoleum. Some of the lanterns have been burning for more than 1000 years as "unquenchable fire". Also, if you go down to the underground temple of the Torodo, you can visit Kobo Daishi at the closest place. In addition, if you go around the back side along the outside of the Torodo, you will find the mausoleum.

It should be noted that photography is prohibited beyond the Gobyou-bashi bridge as it is a sacred area. Please note that photography is not permitted in the Tourou-do.

Torodo(Lantern Hall): Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(19)

Torodo(Lantern Hall): Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(20)

Mizumuke Jizo

Before crossing the Gobyo Bridge, there are many Jizo statues along the river. There are a total of 15 Jizo statues, including Jizo Bosatsu, Fudo Myoo, and Miroku Bosatsu, and you can pray for the souls of your ancestors by pouring water over them with a ladle. It does not mean pouring water on Jizo.

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(21)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(22)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(23)

Let's look at the 15 Jizo statues from left to right.

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(24)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(25)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(44)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(45)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(46)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(47)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(48)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(49)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(50)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(51)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(52)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(53)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(54)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(55)

Mizumuke Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(56)

Gokusho,Gomado,Shotokuden

The Gokusho, located in front of the Gobyobashi bridge, is where meals for Kobo Daishi are prepared. Even today, meals made at the Gokusho are carried to the mausoleum twice a day. Additionally, visitors can receive a Goshuin at the Gokusho.

Gokusho: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(57)

Gokusho: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(58)

Gokusho: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(59)

Next to the Gokusho is the Gomado, a place for performing Goma rituals.

Gomado: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(60)

Gomado: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(61)

Nearby, there is the Shotokuden, a rest area where visitors can take a break. Although I couldn't use it this time, self-service tea is available.

Shotokuden: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(62)

This describes the Temizuya located in front of the Gokusho.

Temizuya: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(63)

Temizuya: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(64)

Temizuya: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(65)

Kozan Ogo Shonin Mausoleum

Near the Gokusho, there is a mausoleum of Ogo, also known as Mokujiki Ogo or Kozan Shonin. Ogo played a crucial role in negotiating the surrender and protecting Koyasan from the ravages of war when Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded the area. He later established a good relationship with Hideyoshi and contributed to the rebuilding of Koyasan by erecting the Golden Hall and the Great Pagoda.

Kozan Ogo Shonin Mausoleum: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(66)

Kozan Ogo Shonin Mausoleum: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(67)

Kozan Ogo Shonin Mausoleum: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(68)

Shinran Shonin's Graveyard

On the approach to Okunoin, there is a mausoleum for Shinran Shonin, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect. The location is on the left side while walking from the Nakanobashi Parking Lot towards the Eireiden.

Shinran Shonin's Graveyard: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(38)

Please go up the stairs on the right. The mausoleum is marked with the name 'Kenshin Daishi', which is the posthumous title of Shinran Shonin. (A posthumous title is a name given after death to honor a person of high virtue).

Shinran Shonin's Graveyard: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(39)

Shinran Shonin's Graveyard: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(40)

There you will find the mausoleum of Shinran Shonin (Kenshin Daishi).

Shinran Shonin's Graveyard: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(41)

Shinran Shonin's Graveyard: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(42)

Shinran Shonin's Graveyard: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(43)

Asekaki Jizo & Sugatami no Ido

Jizo is enshrined in the hall near Nakanohashi. Because this Jizo is always sweating, it is called sweat Jizo. It is said that he carries the sins of all people in the world and is sweating.

Asekaki Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(26)

Asekaki Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(27)

Asekaki Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(28)

Next to the hall, there is a well called Sugatami no Ido. If you want to look into the well, please read the explanation carefully before doing so.

Sugatami no Ido: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(29)

Jizo on the approach path

Along the approach, there are not only tombstones and memorial monuments, but also many Jizo statues. There are makeup jizo, friendly jizo, and a group of cute little jizo. Please pay attention to these Jizo statues when walking along the approach.

Makeup Jizo:

Makeup Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(30)

Friendly Jizo:

Friendly Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(31)

Child Giving Jizo:

Child Giving Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(32)

Substitute Jizo:

Substitute Jizo: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(33)

Company Memorial

In the Okunoin, there are not only individual graves, but also many corporate memorials. Among them, there are memorial monuments with designs that make use of the characteristics of the company, so I will introduce some of them.

Company Memorial(Yakult): Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(34)

Company Memorial(UCC): Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(35)

Company Memorial(Fukusuke): Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(36)

Company Memorial(ShinMaywa Industries): Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(37)

Muen-zuka

At the Muen-zuka, stone stupas that have become Muen-Buddhas are collected, along with old stone stupas unearthed from the ground, and gathered together at the Muen-zuka.

Muen-zuka: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(69)

Muen-zuka: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(70)

Muen-zuka: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(71)

Muen-zuka: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(72)

Muen-zuka: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(73)

Muen-zuka: Highlights of Koyasan Okunoin(74)

List of photos related to Koyasan Okunoin

Please see below for a list of photos related to Koyasan Okunoin.

Address and access method of Koyasan Okunoin

Address of Koyasan Okunoin

The address of Koyasan Okunoin is "550 Koyasan, Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture".

Access method of Koyasan Okunoin

I will explain how to get to Koyasan Okunoin from Shin-Osaka Station.

Shin-Osaka Station

OsakaMetro Midosuji Line
15 minutes

Namba Station

Walking
8 minutes

Namba Station

Nankai Electric Railway Koya Line
80 minutes

Gokurakubashi Station

Nankai Electric Railway Koyasan Cable Car
5 minutes

Koyasan Station
Koyasan Station Bus Stop

Nankai Rinkai Bus
14 minutes

Ichinohashiguchi bus stop

Short walk

Okunoin Ichinohashi

Official site

Official site about Koyasan Okunoin :

https://www.koyasan.or.jp/meguru/sights.html#okunoin

Koyasan Okunoin(1)

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Thank you for reading to the end.

( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )