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Koyasan Monastery Retreat

2 Days
Prices From:
US$ 432

MODERATE | TAILOR-MADE: This retreat to spiritual Mount Koya (Koyasan) is the perfect way to delve into the quiet mysticism of Japanese Buddhism. Explore Koyasan with an expert guide, then join the monks for a stay at a traditional shukubo temple lodge.

Connect your time in Kyoto and Osaka with this overnight atop Koyasan, one of the most picturesque mountains in Wakayama. Ascend via cable car, then explore the most impressive of the 100 or so temples that dot the mountain. More than a feast for your eyes, Koyasan is the centre of Shingon Buddhism and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll visit Japan’s largest cemetery, the last resting place of many key figures from the country’s history. Stay overnight at Shukubo Buddhist Temple Lodging for a complete cultural immersion, rising early to see the monks chant their morning prayers. Transfer to Osaka for your onward journey.


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2 Days
Prices From:
US$ 432

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Kyoto to Mt. Koya

Mt. Koya (Koyasan) and its surroundings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to over 100 temples, Mt. Koya has been the center of Buddhism Shingon, an important Buddhist sect, for over 1200 years. The 2.5 hour journey to the mountaintop religious center of Mt. Koya will be one of the highlights of the visit. You will take several local trains winding your way up through the mountains. The final ascent to the top of Mt. Koya is made by cable car.

Make your own way to Mt. Koya and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to explore the mountain.

Tonight you will be staying at a shukubo - a Buddhist temple lodging. These rooms are comfortable, but simple and not luxurious. However, this is the best way to immerse yourself in the authentic, spiritual atmosphere of Mt. Koya.

Dinner tonight is shojin ryori, a traditional Buddhist cuisine. This vegetarian meal is not only healthy but delicious!

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration1 Night

Shukubo Buddhist Temple Lodging

More Info

Location View map
  • starstar

    Shukubo Buddhist Temple Lodging

    Temple lodging is simple and comfortable, but not luxurious. A temple stay is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the monastic life and mystical traditions of Koyasan. Please note that washroom/bath facilities are usually shared.

    Temple lodging is simple and comfortable, but not luxurious. A temple stay is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the monastic life and mystical traditions of Koyasan. Please note that washroom/bath facilities are usually shared.

    More Details

Day 2

Mt. Koya to Osaka

It will be an early start today to watch the monks chant their morning prayers, followed by a shojin ryori breakfast.

After breakfast, store your luggage at your hotel and then make your way to the meeting point to meet your guide (who is also a monk) for an exciting half day private tour. During the tour, the monk will show you some of the interesting and significant historical sites in Okunoin cemetery and talk about the legends of Mt. Koya, daily life in the temple and the history of the mountain.

After exploring the historical sites in the cemetery, you will have the opportunity to see a ritual ceremony called the Shojingu, in which monks bringing food to their master, the great monk Kobo Daishi. Kobo Daishi founded the temples of Koyasan in the 12th century and is believed to be alive, and praying for people's salvation deep within his mausoleum. You can also visit his mausoleum and its underground prayer room as well as the Torodo Hall, filled with hundreds of lanterns offered by the emperor and royal family.

Your guide will then show you through a hidden forest area called the ''Women Pilgrims Route'' which is said to be the most beautiful trail on Mt. Koya. The forest is just behind Okunoin, but hidden in such a way that only those in the know can find the path. The walk is very easy, just 20 - 30 minutes and very little incline. You'll also be treated to some panoramic views from a private terrace at the end of the walk.

Lunch will be a ''Sasazushi bento'' which is the local cuisine of Koyasan. ''Sasazushi'' is beautifully wrapped sushi in a bamboo leaf. Hot drinks like green tea and coffee will be provided. After the tour, your guide will leave you anywhere you wish to explore within the Koyasan area. Your train back to the Nankai line station in central Osaka is included in the pass provided (please let us know if your next destination is not Osaka) and you can make the journey at any time you wish after the tour this morning.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch

Other Information




  • 1 night moderate traditional temple lodging with shared bathroom facilities (Japanese futon bedding)
  • Private-guided half day tour of Mt. Koya on Day 2, including all entrance fees
  • Train tickets Day 1 (from Kyoto to Mt. Koya): Kyoto - Shin Imamiya (Osaka), Nankai Line pass covering Shin Imamiya to Mt. Koya
  • Train tickets Day 2 (from Mt. Koya to Osaka): Mt. Koya - Shin Imamiya (Osaka)
  • 1 breakfast and 1 dinner at the temple lodge (vegetarian cuisine)
  • 1 lunch (Sasazushi bento)


  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Local transport that is not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Escort from Kyoto or Osaka
  • Luggage handling
  • Meals other than specified as included
  • Travel Insurance or expenses of a personal nature (minibar, phone call, laundry, etc.)
  • Drinks or personal expenses or entrance fees for any extra sightseeing or optional activities


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

28 Nov 2023
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