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Konpon Daito
Sanko no Matsu
Miyashiro Koyashiro Konpon Daito Sannoin Jyabara-michi Chu-mon Sanko no Matsu

Cultural Experience

‘Garan’ Night tour in Mt. Koya

Day trip
from £25

Additional information:

This is a very unique opportunity to look into the World Heritage Site, Mt. Koya with a guiding by a monk in twilight.


The monks practicing in Mt. Koya will invite you to ‘twilight wonders’ of ‘Danjo Garan’, the monastic complex where Buddhist monks gather for their practices. The participants would feel the history of Mt. Koya, the centre of Shingon Buddhism and one of the most sacred place in Japan since Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai, a Japanese monk) had founded Mt.Koya in the 9th century in twilight and might hear anecdotes you cannot find in your guide book.

Itinerary - 1 Days

  1. 【 Information 】
    Tour departure: Mt. Koya
    Date: Tuesday – Saturday (no tour on Sunday and Monday)
    Time: 19:00 – End between 20:00 and 20:30 (tour duration 60 – 90 min.)
    Price: Adult (Age 13 or older) GBP25 / Child (Age 12 or younger) accompanied with adult are free of charge
    Minimum participant: 1 person
    Maximum participant: 10 people
    Places to visit during the tour:

    A small path (‘michi’ in Japanese) leads to the entrance to the Garan. Literary meaning of ‘Jabara’ is ‘snake’s belly’. Monk will explain the reason of the naming....

    Koya Shiro高野四郎
    The gigantic copper bell with a diameter of 2.12 meters, which is the fourth largest bell in Japan. The name “Koyashiro” was given as Mt. Koya’s fourth son (the meaning of ‘shiro’ in Japanese) . The bell keeps time five times during the day, being rung at 4:00 AM, at 1:00 PM, at 5:00 PM (during the spring equinox, at 6:00 PM), at 9:00 PM, and at 11:00 PM.

    In the tenth year of Konin (819), Kobo Daishi transferred the titular deity from Tenno-sha to Mt. Koya.
    The mountains were originally the province of Niu Shrine which enshrine the local deity, Niu-myojin and Kariba-myojin and the both myojin are enshrined in Miyashiro here now. It’s been said that Kariba-myojin had transformed himself as a hunter and lead Kobo Daishi to Mt. Koya. In fact, the hunter did not only lead Kobo Daishi to Mt. Koya, but also played an important role for the foundation of Mt. Koya. Your guide will tell you the details during the tour.

    Between the Kondo and Miedo you will see a pine tree surrounded by a fence. There is an interesting anecdote concerning this tree. When Kobo Daishi prepared to return from T’ang China, he threw a vajra trident (sanko) from China towards Japan as a means of divining the ideal site to promote Shingon Buddhism in Japan. The place the trident stuck was here. Like the trident itself, the pine tree had three-pronged leaves, so it was dubbed Sanko no Matsu (Trident Pine) and treated as a sacred site.

    The name ‘Sannoh-in’ refers to the local Shinto deity being revered as a ‘God of the mountain.’ It was built as a hall of worship on Mt. Koya and important rites and dialogues especially in summer have been held yearly here. On the 16th of every month, a service is held honoring the deity ‘Myojin-sama’, the tutelary God who watches over Mt.Koya.

    This ‘Chu (middle)-mon (gate)’ was existed from the beginning of Mt. Koya foundation to guard ‘Danjo Garan’, the centre of Esoteric Buddhism.
    The original ‘Chu (middle)-mon (gate)’ was lost at a large fire in Tempo 14 (1843) and it has been rebuild in 2015 celebrating the 1,200th anniversary of Mount Koya’s founding.
    Four figures are consecrated here: Jigokuten, Tamonten, Komokuten, and Zochoten. Jigokuten and Tamonten date to the original Chumon gate and were spared the fire. They have been preserved and restored up to the present. Komokuten and Zochoten are new originals
    【 Remarks 】
    *The guiding by monk will be in English (and Japanese, if there are Japanese participants).
    *The Tour will basically end in approximately 60 min. at the ‘Danjo Garan’. For those who want to continue the tour, a guide will take you to Daimon and the tour should be closed by 20:30 at the departure point in Mt. Koya, approx. 10 min. on foot from ‘Danjo Garan’.
    *The tours will be operated even though it is raining. When we have the official warnings or serious disasters, the tour will be cancelled. In case of cancellation, we will notify you through your accommodation in Mt. Koya.
    *The price is including our handling charge.
    *Private tour can be arranged with same itinerary for up to 5 people per party. The prices are from GBP85 on Tue. – Fri. and GBP110 on Sat. & holidays.
Answers Staff

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