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World Heritage / Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

Criteria: (ii) (iii) (iv) (vi) | Date of Inscription: 2004 | Location: Mie, Nara and Wakayama Prefectures | Justification for Inscription

UNESCO

Things to see

Koyasan

Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine
Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine
Kongobu-ji temple
Kongobu-ji temple
Okuno-in
Okuno-in
Jison-in temple
Jison-in temple
Niukanshofu-jinja Shrine
Niukanshofu-jinja Shrine
Koyasan is a sacred site on the mountain with some 1,200 years of religious history. Still playing host to 117 temples, Koyasan is home to Kongobu-ji temple, an ascetic center of the Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism founded by Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) in 816AD. The nearby Jison-in was established at the base of the mountain as the administrative office of Kongobu-ji and Niukanshofu Shrine, a guardian shrine of the land, Niu-myojin Shrine and Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine. They are linked by the Koyasan Choishimichi pilgrimage route.
Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine
Niutsuhime-jinja is dedicated to the deity of the land protecting the northwestern part of the Kii Mountain Range; an area that includes Koyasan. For this reason it has a close relation to Kongobu-ji temple.
Kongobu-ji temple
Kongobu-ji Temple is the head Shingon sect temple and is located at the heart of the Koyasan site. First built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) to aid in the repose of the soul of his deceased mother. The fusuma paintings in the great hall of the main building were finished by a famous painter in the Japanese Edo era - Kano Tanyu (1602-1674).
Danjo Garan
Danjo Garan is a temple complex; first established by Kobo Daishi as a dojo (school) for the Shingon sect at the time he entered Koyasan. Fudodo was a place of prayer established by the Imperial family and a Buddhist altar with a room for prayer are to be found inside the building.
Daimon
The Daimon main gate of Kongobu-ji is a grandiose affair and is one of the largest wooden two-storied gates in the nation.
Okuno-in
The approach to Okuno-in from Ichino-hashi is an impressive 2km in length and passes through a wooded area watched over by cedars over 1000-years-old. The approach winds through more than two hundred thousand graves including a number of resting places for some famous Japanese over the centuries. Inside the Torodo, tens of thousands of lanterns are hung to attract visitors to its mysterious, solemn interior. The mausoleum of Kobo Daishi stands to the rear of the Torodo.
Jison-in temple
The Jison-in temple was constructed in the Heian Period (8th century-12th century) and is located at the entrance to the "Koyasan Choishimichi," pilgrimage route. The Mirokudo, a 14th century reconstruction of the original holds a statue of Buddha designated as a national treasure.
Niukanshofu-jinja Shrine
The shrine's Buddhist temple buildings, in the precincts until the Shintoism and Buddhism Separation Decree was issued in the 19th century, are now gone as a place of worship of the shrine itself. The shrine also used to be worshipped at the adjacent Jison-in temple.
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