Koyasan: In Pursuit of Enlightenment
Koyasan, in the mountains of Wakayama Prefecture, is a sacred site of Shingon Buddhism. It was founded by the visionary monk, Kukai, about 1,200 years ago. Pilgrims and tourists alike stay in shukubo temple lodgings, some of which even feature luxury rooms. Visitors enjoy shojin vegetarian cuisine, meditation sessions and walks through the forests, as well as a famous cemetery. On this journey, British photographer Alfie Goodrich explores the tangible, and intangible, treasures of mysterious Koyasan.

Danjo Garan

This complex, the first Kukai established in Koyasan, has 19 structures. They include Koyasan’s main temple, called the Kondo Hall, and the Konpon Daito pagoda—a symbol of Koyasan.


Okunoin is home to the mausoleum of Kukai. 200,000 memorial towers for noted warlords and graves stretch for two kilometers along a cedar tree-studded path.

Koyasan Forest Therapy

Sacred Koyasan is set in deep woodland. Koyasan Forest Therapy is a program that allows participants to enjoy the sights, smells, sounds and textures of this rich nature with their five senses.


It takes about five hours to reach Koyasan from Tokyo, via Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka with transfers to local lines and the cable car.