The train ride from Osaka to Koyasan is beautiful. It's a slow ride through the mountains. Once we arrived at the bottom of Koyasan, we had to take a cable car to the top. It's as steep as a roller coaster and is a very slow ride up but it only takes about 5 minutes to get to the top.
We got there late in the afternoon, so we decided to walk around for a bit before dinner.
Dinner was included with our stay at the temple. Koyasan is known for their vegetarian cooking and sesame tofu. It was delicious. There were many young monks in training helping around the temple, serving us food and drinks and preparing our rooms.
After dinner, we took a long hot bath and went to bed early. The next morning, we got up for the 6am morning prayer service. I was told that sometimes, the head priest translates the service into English, if there's enough of a demand. There were a group of around 30-40 Japanese pilgrims staying at the temple, so they conducted the service in Japanese. It was really amazing. I've never had an opportunity to attend a Buhddist prayer service, so I really enjoyed the experience. Mostly we sat, watched and listened to the monks and priest chant. The shrine is dark and has many candles and ornaments. It's really beautiful.
After we checked out of the temple, we headed to the cemetery. There are anywhere between 200 to 500,000 graves in the cemetery which is in a cedar forest. It's a really beautiful and quiet setting. We walked around for 2 to 3 hours.
In another part of the cemetery, there were graves from companies such as Nissan, a famous coffee brand place and this rocket ship, but I'm not sure who is buried there or the purpose of a corporate grave. Some even have boxes where you can leave your business card.
Koyasan is well worth a visit especially if you are interested in getting a glimpse into monastic life.