Pilgrimage Route to Koyasan
After Kobo Daishi entered into eternal meditation on the grounds of Okuno-in, the teachings of Shingon Buddhism that he had propagated spread throughout Japan.
As followers of the Shingon religion grew, pilgrims came to Koyasan to express their faith, and pilgrimage routes were created to help facilitate safe travel to these sacred grounds. Ultimately seven pilgrimage routes, each with separate entrances to Koyasan were created and were referred to as Koya Nana-kuchi, or the Seven Entrances to Koyasan.
The pilgrimage route known as the Koyasan Choishi-michi became one of the most commonly used paths to access Koyasan. The starting point for this route began at Jiso-in Temple located at the base of the mountain leading up to Koyasan in the town of Kudoyama.
Jiso-in was established by Kobo Daishi, and it is from this point that a series of wooden stupas were built as markers to help lead the faithful up to the sacred grounds in Koyasan. As time went on, these wooden stupas were later replaced by stone stupas during the Kamakura Period (1185-1333).
Though these pilgrimage routes enabled the faithful to travel to Koyasan, female pilgrims were forbidden from entering Koyasan. As such, religious halls were built at the seven entrances to Koyasan that were specifically meant for women who came to express their faith in the Shingon religion. Today, only a single hall remains intact, which is located near the Fudozaka Slope.
While traveling along the paths the pilgrims once traversed, please be aware that these grounds are also home to a diverse species of wildlife. Therefore, please treat the surrounding nature with the proper respect it deserves, and also be wary of bears and other wildlife that inhabit these areas.
For more information on these paths, please refer to the link below.