Explore the Sacred Graveyard of Okuno-in Temple – Koyasan

Danjo Garan Temple (壇上伽藍)

After my walk through Okuno-In Graveyard and the Inner Temples, I took a short bus ride to Danjo Garan Temple complex. It was one of the first temple complexes built by Kobo Daishi in the 8th century. The complex comprises roughly twenty buildings, with the focal point being Konpon Daito Padoga. The Padoga and neighboring Kondo pavillion were reconstructed in the 1930s after a fire.

Chumon Gate (中門 高野山)

The Chuman Gate stands as the entrance to the temple complex. This eighth reconstruction was completed in 2015 and features all four of the heavenly kings, (Four gods of Buddhism). Unfortunately, I can’t tell them apart. Nonetheless, they are:

  1. Vaiśravaṇa – North (He who hears everything)
  2. Virūḍhaka – South (He who causes to grow)
  3. Dhṛtarāṣṭra – East (He who upholds the realm)
  4. Virūpākṣa – West (He who sees all)

Konpon Daito Padoga (根本大塔)

This Padoga supposedly sits in the center of eight mountains, forming the center of a topographically pointed lotus flower. It’s enormously proportioned, seemingly having been made for giants.

Kondo Pavillion (left) & Konton Daito Padoga

Small Temples

Hidden among the dense trees and mountains of Koayasan are hundreds of small temples, some offering accommodations to guests and pilgrims. Others, just a place to visit and pray. This one temple below I believe was called Shinran Juin Temple and is located just off the path from an entrance to Okuno-In Graveyard.

The small temple had a beautiful fully blossomed Cherry Blossom tree in the small courtyard. It was massive and drew crowds of tourists.

A big thank you to Kenta for guiding me through this journey and sharing in this new adventure to the sacred graveyard and ancient temples of Mount Koya.

Thanks for reading, i hope you consider Mount Koya on your next trip to Japan. It was a great day trip from Osaka, and would have een an ever better overnighter!

Tally On!

Mount Koya, April 2016

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