In addition to the experience of staying at a temple, visiting the Okunoin cemetery and Lantern Hall are the highlights of any trip to Koyasan. Which is good for us because they’re the only sights we were able to visit.
We checked into our room around 3:30 p.m. and set off for the cemetery at 4 p.m., which gave us just more than an hour to explore before we had to be back at the temple for our 5:30 p.m. dinner.
It was sprinkling and dusk was setting in, making the cemetery all the more mysterious and alluring. I made my way slowly thru, leaving the main path for nearly every offshoot. The markers and memorials are overwhelming in their diversity and number.
We weren’t able to see the entire cemetery that evening, so we pushed back our planned departure time in order to return the next morning. In the bright day with an increased number of visitors, the cemetery lost some of its enchantment but was still a sight to behold. We completed our visit at Lantern Hall and Kobo Daishi Gobyo, the mausoleum where Kobo Daishi is said to remain in eternal meditation.
We enjoyed our visit to Koyasan, and while I regretted that we didn’t have time to see the Great Pagoda or Daimon Gate, we know we experienced the best Koyasan has to offer. That said, given the amount of time we traveled contrasted with time spent there, we would perhaps forego the visit if we were to do it all over. I would recommend a visit to Koyasan if you can travel to and from a relatively short distance. Otherwise, you may find that you can put your time toward seeing or doing something as enjoyable that requires less effort.