New Multi-lingual Audio Guide Tours and Koyasan Free Service ticket / tourist pass -- with transportation, entrance and souvenir discounts.
Summer, 2006 … Koyasan, one of the most sacred sites along the “Kumano Kodo” Shingon Buddism Pilgrimage route and a UNESCO World Heritage area since 2004, has launched a unique multi-lingual audio guide service
for tourists! The audio guide, looks like an I-pod, and is easy to operate, working just like a museum exhibition Acoustoguide. Available in English, French, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, it describes tourist sites along the “Religious Standard tour Course,” corresponding to a numbered guidebook. Full appreciation of the corresponding sites along the audio route takes about seven hours. Sites include:
*Konpon-Daito -- a 164 foot?high, bright red tower, housing four large statues of Buddha, as well as portraits and pillars depicting the 16 Buddhist saints.
* Kondo -- Koyasan’s main hall, the site of important Buddhist events
*Miedo ? the exquisite barked-roofed building enshrining the portrait of Kukai, the Chinese priest who founded Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, 1200 years ago
And other halls and temples : Tokugawa Family Mausoleum, Reihokan Treasure Museum Nyonindo Hall, Namikiri-fudo, Senju-in-bashi, Daimon, Danjo, Garan, Daishi Kyokai, Kongobuji, Karukayado, Ichino-hashi, Trodo, Okuno-in, Gobyo, Okuno-in.
The audio guide can be rented for just 500 yen per person per day, and major credit cards are accepted. To rent, simply visit the Chuo or Ichi-no-hashi Koyasan Tourism Association (KTA) locations between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and to return go to any KTA location: Chuo, Ichi-no-hashi, Naka-no-hashi, or Koyasan Station. Those staying over night and using the service beyond 4:30 p.m. may return the guide first thing in the morning at no extra charge.
Koyasan is located about 50 miles south of Osaka on the summit of the Koya Mountain Range, nearly 3300 feet above sea level. The mountaintop site is akin to a “religious city” or Danjo Gran, where more than 100 temples, mausoleums, and museums, and huge and magnificent towers and halls ? the most important of which are mentioned on the route list above -- are concentrated.
Koyasan is most easily and directly accessible from Nankai Namba Station in Osaka. It takes just 1 hr 20 minutes from Nankai Namba Station to Koyasan by the limited express “Koya” train, followed by a steep but peaceful 5-minute cable car ride that ascends through the famous Koya Cedar forests to the summit of Mt. Koya. Note: Both the train and cable car are operated by Nankai Electric Railway company, NOT Japan Railways. As such, the trip is not covered by the Japan Railway pass. However, not only is the Nankai Namba Railway the easiest, fastest, and most direct way to get from Osaka to Mt. Koya (The Japan Rail-Nankai Electric Railway combined route requires train changes; travels through Wakayama, and takes 4 hours!), but travelers can actually purchase a <b>Koyasan Free Service</b> ticket “pass” that offers numerous advantages and savings. For example, the Limited Express Koya train service alone costs 4,800 yen roundtrip. However, the Koyasan Free Service ticket/pass costs only 4,000 yen, already a 17% savings, but in addition, tourists also receive the following:
*Complimentary 2 day bus service within Koyasan (regular bus pass is 800 yen per day )
*Complimentary round-trip cable car service
*20% Discount entrance coupons to main Koyasan temples and monuments (The total cost of admission to sites mentioned in the religious standard course would be 5,270 yen without the pass and 4,180 yen with the pass.)
*Discount coupons for Koyasan souvenir shops.
Of course you can visit Koyasan in one day, and the multi-lingual guide and Koyasan Free Service make a day trip from Osaka easy. However, Koyasan is renown in Japan for its overnight temple stays. Here, 64 temples or shukubo offer Japanese-style lodging and simple vegetarian meals, ranging in price from 7,000 to 15,000 yen per person, usually including breakfast and dinner (http://www.shukubo.jp/eng/05_syukubo.html).
Koyasan is spectacular to visit year-round, but it particularly attracts visitors in late October, early November when red Maple leaves are at their peak, about three weeks earlier than in Kyoto.
For more information on Koyasan, consult the Japan National Tourist Organization (www.japantravelinfo.com). JNTO ( is a public-private partnership under the auspices of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, with the mission to encourage international travel to Japan and support Japanese travel suppliers.
Information is provided as a courtesy to users of this website. Though the JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgement and at their own risk. Neither the JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.