Koyasan is a large temple complex in the mountains of Wakayama, located not far south of Osaka. It works well as a day trip from Osaka and is a great option if you’ve already been to Kyoto and Nara and want to check something else out. It’s also a popular place to stay overnight (temple stays are available), though I’ve never done so – I went up there twice while living in Osaka, once with my parents and once when my friend D Man visited with his mascots Diego and the Dragon (his nephew’s toys if I remember correctly).

This graveyard is a particularly atmospheric spot, though there are also a number of massive temple halls, gates, and pagodas (containing some huge buddha statues):
Nio temple guardians, Koyasan Nio temple guardian, Koyasan

It’s a cool place and a good call for a day trip out of Osaka. To get there, ride the Koya Line of the Nankai Railway from Namba Station all the way to the end of the line at Gokurakubashi which takes roughly 1.5 hours (slightly faster if you take the limited express service, or a bit longer on the express service and you usually have to change at Hashimoto). At Gokurakubashi there’s a cable car up the mountain, and you transfer to a bus at the upper cable car station which takes you to the town. Once there the main temples and the graveyard are all walkable (get the map from the tourist info desk).

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