Mt. Koya/Koyasan is not your typical travel destination. Being more than 2 hours away from Osaka, not many tourists consider going to Koyasan. Nevertheless, our stay at Koyasan particularly Henjosonin, was one of the best parts of our trip!
How to get there:
We went to Koya straight from the Kaiyukan Aquarium. Wherever you are in Osaka, just aim to go to Shin-Imamiya Station. From there, you have the option to ride the Nankai-Koya Line or the Nankai-Limited Express. In both lines, you will get off at Gokurakubashi Station.
We rode the Nankai-Koya Line and had a short stop over to let the express trains pass.
The 2-hour ride was totally worth it because the view was just fascinating – no tall buildings and there’s just lots of trees!
At Gokurakubashi Station, you need to ride a cable car going up Koyasan.
It is not the usual cable car you have in mind, which is the gondola type cable car, but here it is.
From the Cable Car station, we rode a bus to Bus Stop 6 and walked to Henjosonin. Henjosonin is one of the temples in Koyasan which offers temple stay for tourists.
Upon arrival, we were requested to take our shoes off and we used these slippers inside the temple. After changing to slippers, we were then assisted to our room.
Being inside a temple, our room has a very traditional look and feel. Here’s our living room wherein we were provided with tea and some red bean bread.
We arrived around 5:30 PM and we were told that dinner will be served by 6 PM. They request guests to be in yukata during dinner so here we are!
They only serve vegan food… And to be honest, I am not so fond of vegies so I did not really enjoy meal time. Nonetheless, the vegetable tempura especially the sweet potato, was delicious. The dessert plate was good too!
After dinner, we prepared for our Japanese hot bath! We bathed together with older Japanese women who are just so used to super hot baths that their bodies didn’t even need time to adjust to the water temperature. One grandma told us to just plunge in, and so we did.
Here’s Henjosonin’s hot bath being so dreamy… Inside the bath, they have also provided shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. There are also lockers outside, as well as hair dryer, comb, and vanity kits.
The hot bath helped us to have a very relaxing sleep. Although I found the pillows quite hard as they are filled with sand-like particles, the futons are super comfortable!
The morning after, there is a Buddhist ceremony in the temple and guests were requested to participate. It starts as early as 6:30 AM. I didn’t understand much but it’s quite the experience.
Right after the ceremony, another vegan meal awaits us. I prefer the dishes served during breakfast. (The photo doesn’t show the full course – they’re just appetizers but I really enjoyed the breakfast)
After eating, we packed our things and checked-out. This temple stay experience is very memorable as we experienced a very traditional way of living in Japan. We initially planned on doing a daytrip at Koyasan, but I am grateful we stayed overnight! We booked Henjosonin via Agoda and it cost us around 35,000 JPY for a night including the meals.
Next on the blog will be the places we visited in Koya… Stay tuned and thank you for your time,