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  • Koyasan's crimson autumn foliage at its most beautiful
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  • Looking toward Koyasan from Nyonindo temple
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  • Dai-mon Gate, the main gate of Koyasan and a symbol of the sacred boundary
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  • Young Koyamaki trees (Japanese umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata (Thunb.) Siebold et Zucc.)) sprouting
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  • Forest Therapy Road
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  • New arched bridge over Lake Hasu
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  • Hexagonal sutra repository
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  • Danjo Garan sacred temple complex (Toto pagoda) in mid-autumn
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Koyasan (Mount Koya) Recreation Forest


Elevation Lowest : 580m / Average : 700–740m / Highest : 740m

Forest on the sacred Koyasan plateau

Forest on the sacred Koyasan plateau

Newest information
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Kinki Chugoku
Autumn leaf viewing (Outside the forest) Picnics (lawn area/park) (Outside the forest) : Koya Town Sports Field Guided tours (Outside the forest) (Foreign language support available (Payment required in some cases)) Forest therapy (therapy center) (Outside the forest) : Mezame no Morizukuri Executive Committee (Payment required for use of facilities and participation in activities) (Foreign language interpretation available (advance request required) (Payment required)) Shrine / Temple visit (Outside the forest) : Entire Koyasan (Payment required in some cases)
Geographical/topographical features
The forest is located on Koyasan, a flat area with an elevation of approximately 800 m surrounded by over-1,000 m mountains, in Koya Town, Ito County, in northern Wakayama Prefecture.
The name Koyasan (literally, "Mt. Koya") gives the impression of a mountain peak. However, Koyasan is in fact a flat basin 6 km from east to west and 3 km from north to south.
Historical/cultural features
Koyasan, where the Koyasan (Mount Koya) Recreation Forest is located, is a sacred site for the esoteric Buddhist Shingon sect, which was started by the priest Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi, at the beginning of the Heian period (8th century CE). It is a unique religious site without parallel anywhere else in Japan, and is the location of more than 100 temples.
In 2004, Koyasan was registered as a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site as part of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range." In addition, it marked the 1200th anniversary of its foundation in 2015. Koyasan has become an international tourist spot and receives large numbers of both domestic and international visitors.
Climate, flora and fauna
Although Koyasan is located in Wakayama Prefecture, which generally has a temperate climate, the seasons there arrive earlier than in the rest of the prefecture, and the temperature tends to be low throughout the year due to the area’s elevation of approximately 800 m.
Construction of temples required long, thick logs because the buildings were tall and the rooms were wide. Therefore, the so-called six tree species of Koyasan (Sugi (Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)), Hinoki (Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)), Akamatsu (Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora)), Momi (fir (Abies firma)), Koyamaki (Japanese umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata (Thunb.) Siebold et Zucc.)), and Tsuga (Japanese hemlock (Tsuga sieboldii))) were planted because they are appropriate for the climate and useful as timber. The current magnificent scenery is considered to be a result of the mountain forest system established in the mid-Edo period (late 17th to early 18th century CE). The trees―particularly Japanese cypress and Japanese umbrella pine―were protected, and logging of the six tree species for uses other than temple repairs was banned in 1813.
In Koyasan's protected forest of rare Japanese umbrella pine, located adjacent to the Recreation Forest, a mix of tree species have been cultivated, mainly consisting of the six tree species of Koyasan. This forest was designated as a protected forest in 1918, and has been managed as such ever since.
The Koyasan (Mount Koya) Recreation Forest forms part of the Koya-Ryujin Quasi-national Park. A natural forest and a planted forest of old conifers create superb scenery. The area can be entered from the walking trail adjacent to "Nyonindo." The beautiful conifer forest can be explored via the Forest Therapy Road, which runs through Koyasan's protected forest of rare Japanese umbrella pine. Relax and enjoy the rich natural splendor of Koyasan's unique natural environment.
The adjacent protected forest preserves a natural forest consisting of 130- to 290-year-old trees, including the six tree species of Koyasan, which are appropriate for this sacred site. You can feel the history of the religious town of Koyasan and the trees that supported its development.
Latest Information
Regular events
Forest Therapy Road Tour (route through the protected forest of rare Japanese umbrella pine)
Warnings (Flora and fauna)
Asian black bear: Tsukinowaguma (Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus)) may be present during the period from May to November. When entering the forest, please carry a bear bell and stay in a group. Check for local information on bear sightings and warnings and follow instructions.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Free of charge
Opening seasons and hours
Accessible 24 hours a day
Accommodation options
52 Koyasan temples can be used as Shukubo (temple lodging) (accommodations for worshippers). They all have their own histories and characteristics. Some are associated with famous samurai while others feature beautiful gardens and fusuma (sliding screen) paintings.
Toilets and drinking fountains (Outside the forest) : Town-operated toilet near Nyonindo Footpath / walking trail (Includes surrounding area) Parking lot (Outside the forest) : Municipal office parking lot, etc. Shop (Outside the forest) : In Koya Town Restaurant (Outside the forest) : In Koya Town Free public wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) (Outside the forest) : Available in some parts of Koya Town Resource center / Museum (Outside the forest) : Koyasan Reihokan Museum (Payment required for use of facilities and participation in activities) (Foreign language support available (Payment required)) World Heritage Site / Cultural asset (nationally designated) (Outside the forest) : Pilgrimage routes to Koyasan (Foreign language support available) Accommodation facilities (Hotels/Japanese inns) (Outside the forest) : Shukubo (temple lodging) available
Koyasan National Forest, Koya Town, Ito County, Wakayama Prefecture
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • ● Gokurakubashi Station (Nankai Electric Railway) → about 20 minutes on foot (1.5 km)
  • ● Nyonindo bus stop (Nankai Rinkan Bus) → about 10 minutes on foot (1.2 km)
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • ● JR Osaka Station → (JR Osaka Loop Line (change trains at Shin-imamiya Station) → (Limited Express Koya (Nankai Electric Railway): 100 minutes) → Gokurakubashi Station
  • ● JR Osaka Station → (JR Osaka Loop Line (change trains at Shin-imamiya Station)) → (Limited Express Koya (Nankai Electric Railway) (change trains at Gokurakubashi Station): 110 minutes) → Koyasan Station (Nankai Rinkan Bus: 6 minutes) → Nyonindo bus stop
By car
<Access (From the Nara/Wakayama direction)>
  • Keinawa Expressway Katsuragi-nisihi IC → (public road: about 45 minutes) → Daimon-Minami Parking Lot (Nankai Rinkan Bus: 12 minutes) → get off at the Nyonindo bus stop
<Car parking capacity / parking charges>

Free parking for 200 vehicles at the Daimon-Minami Parking Lot

Nearby tourist facilities
  • ● Nyonindo (the only remnant of a temple specifically for women existing in the Kyosan area from the time when women were forbidden to enter the area): 10 minutes on foot
  • ● Kongobuji Temple (main temple of over 3,600 Koyasan Shingon sect temples nationwide): 20 minutes on foot
  • ● Koyasan Reihokan Museum (stores and exhibits cultural assets, including 21 national treasures): 25 minutes on foot
Management office contact details
Wakayama District Forest Office
Information on Other Local Tourist Attractions
Kongobuji Temple (main temple of the Koyasan Shingon sect) [External link]
Official Tourist Information
Koya Town [External link]
Koya Tourist Association [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee

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