Shrines and Temples
What is the difference between a temple and a shrine? An easy-to-understand explanation
Koyasan is the sacred area of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, which was founded by Kobo Daishi Kukai.
Also known as the "sacred place in the sky," it is covered with snow in winter, creating a fantastic view. There is also a ski resort, so you can enjoy playing in the snow.
Today, we will introduce the highlights of Koyasan in winter.
Koyasan changes its scenery depending on the season, with fresh green in spring and colored leaves in autumn.
In winter, the trees and temples turn into a silver world covered with snow. The beauty of Koyasan in winter, which is covered with snow, is worth seeing. Only those who have endured the cold and worshiped can encounter the rare seasonal scenery.
You can visit the spots of Koyasan such as "Kongobuji Temple", "Danjo Garan", and "Okunoin" even in winter. A temple with snow will show you a different and divine appearance.
Now, let us introduce three spots in Koyasan where the snowy landscape is particularly brilliant.
When Koya Daishi Kukai, who opened Koyasan, returned from Tang, he first built Danjo Garan.
Danjo Garan, the place of training for Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, has the meaning of "a garden of silence where monks practice" and represents the world of "Taizo Mandala". There are many temples that you would like to look around with enough time, such as "Kondo" and "Konpon Daito".
Above all, the gorgeous vermilion of Konpon Daito has a refreshing contrast with the blue sky on a clear day. Furthermore, when the pure white snow intersects with vermilion, you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty.
Don't miss the co-starring of Chuumon, which was rebuilt in front of Kondo for the first time in 172 years, and snow too.
Okunoin, which has the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, is known as the sacred area of Koyasan, and is the center of Kobo Daishi worship.
On the approach to the shrine, which stretches for about two kilometers from Ichinohashi to the mausoleum, there are more than 200,000 gravestones, memorial towers, and memorial monuments lined up in a cedar grove that is hundreds of years old. Many Jizo statues are watching over the worshipers along the approach.
"Kesho Jizo (Makeup Jizo)" has a tradition, "If you put on beautiful makeup, you can become a beautiful woman", and will lighten your sins according to the number of times you visited Okunoin when you fell into hell. When snow piles up on the thankful Jizo, such as "Kazutori Jizo," which is said to accompany you, it feels as if you are in the world of fairy tales.
The scenery of the light of lanterns that illuminate the approach melting into the snowy landscape is mysterious.
Kongobuji Temple is famous as a symbol of Koyasan along with Danjo Garan.
It is the head temple of Koyasan Shingon sect and is visited by many worshipers and tourists. Only during this period can you see the stone steps leading up to the oldest main gate of Kongobuji Temple covered with snow.
When you pass through the main gate, you will see the magnificent main shrine, which stretches for more than 50m from east to west and more than 60m from north to south. When it is beautifully covered with snow, the appearance will be outstanding. If you step into the main shrine, you can see the rooms where important events and ceremonies are held, such as "Ohiroma (Large Hall)", "Mochibutsu-ma", "Ume-no-ma", and "Yanagi-no-ma".
Between each of the rooms, paintings by Kano Tan'yūsai Morinobu and Yamamoto Tan'yū, are drawn on the fusuma, and you will feel the breath of history.
Koyasan has the only ski resort in Wakayama prefecture, and it is also recommended for winter sightseeing. The name of the spot is " Koyasan Ski Resort ".
The slopes of "Tenjikuyama Forest Park in Koyacho", which is popular as a picnic and barbecue venue in spring and summer, quickly turns into a natural slope in winter.
However, there are no lifts or gondola at Koyasan Ski Resort, so after you slip, you have to climb the slope on your own. Also, there are no shops or rest areas.
Therefore, there are few full-scale skiers and snowboarders.
Most of the visitors are families.
Many people enjoy sledding because of its relatively gentle slope and good visibility. It is great for families to be able to slide on sleds, make snowmen, and play with peace of mind for small children.
It can be said that it is one of the best ski resorts for children's snowy mountain debut.
Koyasan, which is about 800m above sea level, snow from the end of December to February every year, so it is essential to take measures against snow when visiting by car.
Be sure to equip studless tires or tire chains.
Roads in winter are slippery, even if they don't have much snow, as they can be frozen. The mountain road has many curves, so be careful when driving.
If you are worried about driving on a snowy road, it is safer to access by train instead of car.
The weather in Osaka and Wakayama may not match the weather of Koyasan.
Even if it was fine in the city, there is a possibility that you will be hit by heavy snow in the mountains.
Koyasan Tourism Association provides information on snow cover through the official website and Facebook.
It is a good idea to check the snow conditions in advance by checking them or making inquiries by phone.
Koyasan is full of sightseeing spots that can only be enjoyed in winter, such as temples that create a sacred atmosphere surrounded by pure white, and snowy mountains where you can sled and play in the snow.
The scenery of the fusion of traditional buildings,the silver world, and the snowy mountains that spread all over will make you want to take a picture. Not to mention a day trip, it is also recommended to stay overnight and enjoy winter Koyasan.
If you go to Koyasan in winter, don't forget to take measures against the cold.