Considered one of the holiest places in Japan, Mount Koya beckons visitors in search of spiritual experiences. This is a vast temple settlement in the country’s Wakayama Prefecture, located to the south of Osaka and Kyoto, and as far removed from modern Japan’s chaotic cities as it is possible to be.
The centre of Shingon Buddhism, some 100 temples and monasteries dot this sacred place, a peaceful, wooded land, with mile upon mile of paths to walk and forests galore to explore. Be sure to visit Torodo Hall, with its 10,000 eternally-lit lanterns, before spending some quiet time at Okunoin Cemetery, Mount Koya’s most famous landmark, a spiritual site indeed and home to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi.
So peaceful is Mount Koya that, when the time comes to depart, you won’t want to leave. Take our advice and plan an overnight stay — there’s nothing that can beat sleeping in a shukubo (a traditional temple lodging) here.