Koyasan Route

4DAYS 3NIGHTS

Marcy

Marcy is a professional content creator, blogger and editor from the Americas, focused in the luxury adventure travel industry showcasing remote exotic destinations around the world.
Marcy worked as Marketing PR director for Ralph Lauren. Her work has been featured in The Telegraph, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and National Geographic.

DAY 1

  • 10:00
    NAMBA Sta. (Nankai Koya Line)
  • 11:30
    GOKURAKUBASHI Sta. (Nankai Koya Line)
  • 11:35
    GOKURAKUBASHI Sta. (Nankai Koya Line)
    Yes. I thought that when we got to Wakayama we would go directly to the site from the train.
    But to my surprise, we took a cable car after we got off the train! That was a very cool experience.
    And actually, this was my first cable car ride in Japan so I really enjoyed it, especially because I was not expecting to see snow! When most people think about Japan they think, “Big cities, technology, lots of skyscrapers and lots of people”.
    So, I would like to remind people that Japan has many things to offer that they probably never imagined. There are many hidden gems in Japan that the world doesn’t even know about and Wakayama is one of them.
    This was by far my favorite stop since I have been in Japan. I would love to recommend that other people to come here for a different cultural experience.
    This site is in a beautiful natural setting which is great for hiking, has unique and beautiful temples, great food, and great people. it’s the perfect destination for anyone who is interested in Buddhism.
  • 11:35
    KOYASAN Sta. (Nankai Koya Line)
  • 11:40
    KOYASAN Sta. Bus Stop
  • 11:57
    Daimon Bus Stop
  • 11:57
    Dai-mon Gate
    Yes. This entire trip has been a cultural and educational experience for me.
    The first landmark I visited was the Dai-mon Gate, and since the moment we arrived I was totally speechless because of its design size and details.
    I love the fact that this gate marks the entrance to the holy sanctuary in Koyasan and that has been rebuilt for such a long time (since 1705).
    I would say to others, don’t miss this beautiful Dai-mon Gate landmark! It’s absolutely stunning in its color, shape and history.
    And also, there is a beautiful temple next to it to the left that is the same color of the Dai-mon Gate: a reddish- orange.
    They are both very photogenic. However, my strongest recommendation is to visit the Dai-mon Gate at sunset because that’s the best time, when the sun is reflected very nicely from the gate during a golden hour that creates a magical effect. It makes the color of the gate pop even more.
  • 12:30
    Kadohama Sesame Tofu Honpo (Lunch)
    Yes, I never thought you could find places like this in Wakayama. It was such a great, delightful experience.
    Visiting Kadohama Goma Tofu made me realize that vegetarian food can be delicious and tasty, but still creative and attractive.
    I never thought Tofu could look this pretty and cute. I don’t normally eat tofu but after visitng Kadohama Goma Tofu perspective about Tofu actually changed.
    I would recommend eating at Kadohama GomaTofu because is not only cute and photogenic but also tasty.
    I think not many people like tofu in general, but for people who don’t (like me) I think Kadohama Goma Tofu is a great place to begin.
    Here you can discover a new love for ways to eat tofu that many people don’t even know about.
    Kadohama GomaTofu offers such a great variety of dishes with such a range of flavors that it will make the visitor recommend it to their friends and family, too.
  • 13:30
    Danjo Garan Sacred Temple Complex
    Yes, totally! I had never seen such a great complex of beautiful and majestic temples in one place.
    I loved visiting this place, not only because it is so photogenic but also because I was able to learn so much behind the history of each thing I saw.
    I love the great variety; each one is so different and unique. What made this experience so much more unique and special for me is that I was also able to observe two female monks reciting their prayers.
    I will never forget that! I would recommend this place because it’s a great place to learn about the history of Kobo Daishi and the meaning that lies behind all these temples and so forth. It is also eye opening to see this group of temples with one’s own eyes.
    Being able to examine it from every angle and actually getting lost inside the Danjo Garan will make the experience of touring Wakayama just that much more unique and special.
  • Kongobu-ji Head Temple
    Absolutely! LOVE learning the history behind this temple and the motives of Toyotomi Hideyoshi when he built it.
    I was surprised by the size, and the different beautiful rooms there where they celebrate different religious ceremonies and events.
    I like that some of the rooms, which are very unique and beautiful, are painted to capture different seasons.
    My favorite part was finding out that behind the building is the largest rock garden in Japan, where the previous three generations of emperor have visited.
    For me the best reason to recommend to anybody that they visit this place is because it offers such a unique and beautiful account of the history behind what you get to see.
    Also, visiting the biggest rock garden in Japan is unique.
    It’s not only special because it has the shape of dragons but also because it is one of the few places where you can get to experience for yourself a place where previous emperors have visited.
  • 15:05
    Kongobuji-mae Bus Stop
  • 15:12
    Kongobuji-mae Bus Stop
  • 15:20
    Okuno-in
    Yes, absolutely! Okuno-in was one of my favorites sites curing my visit to Wakayama.
    It was very eye opening for me because I get to learn so much about this beautiful cemetery, which is UNESCO World heritage.
    It is by far the most beautiful cemetery I have seen in my life. It’s a very mysterious but yet peaceful and beautiful place.
    Anyone coming to Wakayama, don’t miss it! I would recommend a visit to the Okuno-in cemetery because it is the most beautiful cemetery they will ever see in their lives.
    Most cemeteries are a little bit scary and not photogenic but Okuno-in is absolutely the opposite.
    I feel like it’s a great site for anyone visiting Wakayama, if for no other reason than that it is very peaceful, beautiful and eye-opening.
    But also, you can learn so much behind the culture of Buddhism and about one of the most revered individuals in the history of Japan: Kobo Daishi.
    After a visit to this place anyone can understand why It is also one of the most sacred places in Japan.
  • 17:30
    Koyasan Henjoson-in (Check in)
    Yes, I loved staying at Henjoson-in. It was such a unique experience and different from anything I had ever done before.
    Staying in this beautiful Buddhist temple led to great understanding, which complemented my cultural experiences in Wakayama.
    I actually didn’t know much about Buddhism but after this trip to Wakayama I got the opportunity to learn a lot about this religious culture, and I enjoyed that experience a lot.
    I would totally recommend staying at the Henjoson-in Buddhist temple In order to be immersed in one of the most authentic aspects of Wakayama, which is Buddhism.
    Not only because this is very unique and different from what many people get to experience, but also because by staying here you can get the flavor of a real monk’s way of life, from the delicious vegetarian food to the morning prayers.
    The lodging itself is quite nice and comfortable. Very photogenic, too.
  • 18:00
    Koyasan Henjoson-in (Dinner)
    Day One on my Wakayama trip was all about experiencing the Buddhist side of Wakayama, which I been LOVING! I actually have been discovering a new side of myself, a love of vegetarian food, that I didn’t even know I had. Honestly, I didn’t know vegetarian food could be this tasty.
    This experience has led me to consider including these types of food in my daily life. Not only because it’s super healthy but also because it is good for the environment.
    I absolutely loved the dinner here; it was super-tasty! As with everything in Japan, the food is such a unique culinary experience.
    But definitely eating at Henjoson-in Buddhist temple is very different. It’s an exceptional experience not many people get to see or experience.
    This is why I think this is something people should not miss on their visit to Wakayama. Vegetarian food is not only super healthy but also helps our planet.
    Experiencing the monk’s way of life from the culinary perspective is something very unique. Anyone will LOVE IT as much as I did, when they come here to Wakayama.
  • 18:55
    Within walking distance
  • 19:00
    Okuno-in Cemetery Night Tour
    There is also an English-speaking guide and the tour lasts about an hour.
    I was able to visit the Okuno-in, which has a different atmosphere from what I experienced when I visited it in the daytime.
    The final part was when a Buddhist monk chanted sutras, and everyone who was participating said prayers and the service ended. It felt really sacred, to me.
  • 20:15
    Okuno-in Cemetery Night Tour(Finish)
  • 20:20
    Within walking distance
  • 20:30
    Koyasan Henjoson-in

DAY 2

  • 6:30
    Koyasan Henjoson-in Morning Ceremony
    Yes, it was a little bit early for me because I’m not a morning person, but I really enjoyed waking up at 6:30 am to witness the morning prayer.
    For me it was eye-opening to see the how dedicated the monks’ lifestyle is to their religion. After the morning prayer one of the monks took us to a sacred place where cameras were not allowed so we could pray, ourselves, which for me was a very unique experience.
    Anyone visiting Wakayama: I would totally recommend staying in a Buddhism temple because you get a taste of the real lives of monks and can get a deep sense of involvement.
    It’s is a unique experience that anyone would love to have because you get to value this religion more, and learn about the passion and dedication monks and followers have for the Buddhist religion.
  • 7:30
    Koyasan Henjoson-in (Breakfast)
  • 8:30
    Koyasan Henjoson-in (Check out)
  • 8:35
    Within walking distance
  • 8:48
    Reihoukan-mae Bus Stop
  • 9:00
    KOYASAN Sta. Bus Stop
  • 9:45
    KOYASAN Sta. Bus Stop
  • 13:23
    Gyuba-doji-guchi Bus Stop
  • 13:25
    Gyuba-doji Statue
    I really enjoyed the trek around this part of the Kumano Kodo!
    Even though it was short I really loved it because it is very photogenic.
    There was a magical mist around the Japanese cedar trees that anyone hiking here would appreciate.
    Loved the greens and getting lost among the trails through the trees.
    Finding the stone statues was also very cool because you can see how they blend into the natural environment and learn about the important values behind them.
    I feel what I enjoyed most from the Day 2 hike was getting lost in nature among the different Kumano Kodo trails.
    I do love to learn about history and the importance that these stones have but I feel there are many more things to see around Wakayama than looking for these tiny stones.
  • 14:00
    Chikatsuyu-oji
    I really enjoyed more looking for the spots while we hiked and walking along the trails surrounded by natural beauty.
    I do understand the importance, the meaning, and the history behind this monument and the significant value it gives to this destination.
    I would only recommend this spot to people who are really into stones and learning about the history of the different stone sculptures you can find around Kumano Kodo.
    Each one has a different meaning and adds important value to this destination.
  • 14:50
    Hashi-ori jaya (Lunch / Footbath)
    I have been loving all the food experiences we have been having in Wakayama! The Hashi-ori jaya was a really beautiful small and intimate restaurant run by a lovely old Japanese couple.
    They were very nice and seemed grateful that we came to have lunch! The food was really delicious and I really enjoyed my time eating here, especially the Rice Bowl, which was very delicious!
    I would recommend this place to people just because it’s always nice to experience something more local and intimate, and where people are very kind. I found the people who owned the restaurant to be very nice and kind.
    Anyone visiting this place will love it! The food was fresh and well prepared, with very unique and delicious flavors. And the fact that you can get a foot massage after lunch for free is a definite plus! Especially if you’ve been hiking all day.
    The only thing you want is to get your feet in some nice hot water and relax!
  • 15:50
    Kodo Aruki-no-Sato Chikatsuyu
    After the hike and lunch we stopped here to explore the local shopping market. I got to experience how the local people do handicrafts to make bags, baskets and souvenirs.
    I really love seeing the materials they use and the colors. It was all very beautiful. One of the things I enjoyed the most was eating local ice cream here. It was very delicious.
    This is a great spot if you want to buy local handicrafts that are beautiful and pocket-friendly. It’s a great place to obtain souvenirs for your family and friends from this part of Japan, that is, Wakayama.
    Anyone coming here will have a difficult time choosing because there are so many great things you could take home with you.
  • 15:50
    Within walking distance
  • 16:40
    Hisohara-oji
    I do understand the importance, the meaning, and the history behind this monument and the significant value it offers to this destination, the place and the people.
    I would only recommend this spot to people who are really into stones and learning about the history of the different stone sculptures you can find around Kumano Kodo.
    Getting to find the stone sculptures and monuments was more fun because you get to enjoy their beautiful natural settings.
  • 17:00
    Within walking distance
  • 17:10
    Tsugizakura-oji
    Yes, I LOVE seeing the Tsugizakura-oji, getting to see the 800 years trees that grow in this place and hiking up.
    Admiring the beautiful trunks of the trees is just so nice that I think anyone visiting this place would love it as much as I did.
    It’s very quiet and peaceful and a great place to go off and mediate during an afternoon.
    I would totally recommend for people to come here, just because you can explore nature, see beautiful views from the mountains, and also one nicest and most famous springs in Japan is nearby.
    I think the shrine still made of ancient wood feels more authentic and traditional and is very beautiful to see, especially with the 800 year old trees around it.
    Anyone loving nature will really love this place because is really quiet, peaceful and relaxing! When you walk back you can also see a few traditional wooden Japanese houses, which is also very nice.
  • 17:40
    Within walking distance
  • 18:04
    Nonaka Ipposugi Bus stop
  • 18:43
    Fujiya-mae Bus stop
  • 18:45
    Fujiya Ryokan (Check in)
    Staying a Fujiya was so different from our first stay; this one feels more luxurious and modern but it is still a real traditional Japanese experience, which I LOVE.
    I really enjoyed how comfortable it was and also loved the different onsen experiences, from indoors to outdoors. This was my first experience like that.
    I found the indoors one very well designed in that it feels like you are outdoors in a natural setting even though you are still inside the hotel.
    Fujiya is a great place for anyone visiting Wakayama either with friends, solo, as a couple or a family.
    I found this a great accommodation option for any kind of traveler because it’s very modern and luxurious but still comfortable in its own way.
    I love that it faces the mountains and the river. Getting to experience an outdoor onsen in front of your hotel is a privilege that anyone visiting Wakayama would be happy to have.
    This is especially true because it’s very peaceful and quite, and surrounded by nature’s beauty.
  • 19:00
    Fujiya Ryokan (Dinner)
    I think dining anywhere in Japan is such a culinary experience! I feel that of all the places I’ve been in Japan this region (Wakayama) really pays a lot of attentions to details when it comes to food.
    Everything is so fresh, authentic and delicious. The presentation itself is also really outstanding. And if they come to Fujiya, they will have a very authentic experience!
  • 20:00
    Kawayu Onsen (Sennin-buro River Bath)
Special Tour

Exclusive Seasonal Tour of Hidden Nachisan

Availability: Recommended from February to May
6hours
Price per person: 62,000YEN
*This price (per person) is based on two people
Discover the secret of hidden Nachisan, and journey to the power spot appreciated by locals for centuries.

Every person has a different experience when they climb to Kumano Nachi Taisha and Seiganto-ji Temple, and down to Hirou Shrine and the famed, sacred, towering falls of Nachi-no-Otaki.
But very few have had the opportunity to go beyond, to bask in the natural wonder of the upper falls in the inner sanctuary of Kumano Nachi Taisha’s “shintai” (object of worship).

Until now! Join the “Seasonal Tour of Hidden Nachi” where you can taste a historic part of the 48-waterfall circuit, tread for over a millenia by only mountain ascetic priests on sacred pilgrimage.
Visit three of the more sacred: Nyoin Nin Kannon waterfall (the second falls) and Bato Kannon waterfall (the third falls), and at the base, Nachi-no-Otaki.

This tour includes an exclusive purification ceremony at the main shrine of Kumano Nachi Taisha just before travelers head up the meandering steep slope, around the babbling tributaries, through the pristine natural forest of Nachi.

On the descent, write your wish upon a wooden votive to be offered in a Gomataki fire ritual at Seiganto-ji Temple, to seek protection from the ills of the world and change your fortune!

This seasonal tour runs for 5 hours and 50 minutes, but is only offered from February to May.

Nurture your inner spirit by joining this unique hike into the mysteries of Nachi Falls!

Other Route

Kumano Kodo Route

Robert

Robert is a professional photographer, journalist, and social media influencer from England, dedicated to capturing the rich cultural and natural beauty of the world.
He has traveled to 155 countries and previously worked as Editor-in-Chief for CNN Travel in Japan, BBC, Wall Street Journal and NatGeo.
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