Okunoin Temple

The sanctuary of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism and the place where the souls of samurai warriors rest

The sanctuary Okunoin Temple has been a place of comfort and support not only for the common people, but also for samurai warriors from 200 years ago. The road to the temple is 2 km long, surrounded by a mystic grove of Japanese cedar trees, which leaves you with a lasting impression. It is a power spot that cleanses your soul.
Business Hours
Saturday ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
Sunday ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
Weekdays ( 6:0 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
Okunoin Koyasan Koya, Ito District, Wakayama
(0736) 56-2002


Known as a power spot, Okunoin Temple is where the founder of the Shingon sect, Kobo Daishi (the monk Kukai), performed the ultimate ascetic training in which he practiced austerity to the point of death. To get to Okunoin Temple, visitors walk along a 2km approach to the temple from Ichi-no-hashi Bridge to the mausoleum. According to the tradition, Grand Master Kukai comes to this Ichi-no-hashi Bridge to greet you at your arrival and then later to see you off. For this reason, visitors bring their hands together and bow once toward this bridge as a form of prayer. Along the approach are more than 200,000 monuments including graves, prayer steles and memorials. The temple is also well known as the spot of the graves of famous, powerful feudal lords and samurai worriers who fought more than 500 years ago including the grave of Nobunaga Oda and the memorial pagodas of Shingen Takeda and Masamune Date. The remains and personal belongings of the deceased family members have been brought to the sanctuary of Mount Koya for generations by people praying for the rebirth of the deceased ones in the Pure Land. The temple has been collecting people who make wishes and prayers for the repose of the departed soul, and by that, it has been collecting spiritual energy. This sacred spot has come to be revered by people of all social levels–members of the Imperial court, aristocrats, samurai worriers, and the commons–and it has prospered as a place of comfort and support for people regardless of their sect. Pilgrims, who are called ohenro-san, pray in gratitude to Grand Master Kukai in front of his mausoleum at Mount Koya Okunoin Temple before departing on a pilgrimage to express their joy of “kechien (to make a religious connection)” and after finishing it to report “kechigan (to finish ascetic practices for making a wish).” The temple premises is mystic and sublime; the gigantic cedar trees and moss-covered stone pagodas speak of the temple’s 1,200 years of history, and at the mausoleum, people quietly pray to the Great Master Kukai (Kobo Daishi) who now prays for peace as a sokushinbutsu*. * Self-mummified monk: Some Buddhist monks used to practice what was regarded as the ultimate ascetic training for the purpose of saving people to meditate in a buried state to the point of death and then to become a mummified monk.

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8 years ago
Unbelievably quiet and undisturbed
This is a place of true tranquility. Although walking through a cemetery may not sound peaceful it felt like I was in a Ghibli movie. The path seems to never end and there are several side paths to explore. It is very quiet adding to the mysterious feeling. Truly a memorable experience.
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