Originally the name for the entire monastic complex at Kōyasan was Kongōbuji, however it now refers specifically to the headquarters of Kōyasan’s Shingon Buddhism sect. The name Kongōbuji means Vajra Peak and is a term found in the Buddhist sutra.
Prior to the 1860s, two separate temples were located where Kongōbuji now stands. The monk Kakuban had received permission from Emperor Toba to build the Daidenbo-in temple in 1131 at this site, and later Tototomi Hideyoshi asked the monk Ogo to build a temple in the same area to pray for the repose of his mother. After the Meji Restoration in 1868, each religious organisation was required to have a single governing head temple and the two temples were combined and renamed to function as the headquarters for Kōyasan’s Shingon-shu Buddhism sect. All of the individual temples of Kōyasan are now sub-temples of Kongōbuji Temple.
The remarkable building that can be seen today consists of a Great Main Hall, Betsuden, Shinbetsuden, Okuden, Shinshoin, Tea Room, Ajikan Meditation Hall, Scripture Repository, Bell Tower, Dento Kokushi Mausoleum and Fire Offering Hall. Within the building are scenes painted on the slidings doors of the rooms.
Every year the Aoba Matsure festival is held here on the 15th of June, celebrating the birth of Kobo Daishi. A procession takes place along the main road from the Ichinobashi Bridge to Kongōbuji with floats, dancers and lanterns. At Kongōbuji, there are flower arrangements, calligraphy, exhibitions, tea ceremonies and other activities.
The donations received by Kongōbuji are used today for social welfare programs, foster parent support, disaster assistance, the maintenance of the head temple, the support of Kōyasan University, Kōyasan High School and other educational institutions and religious training facilities, as well as for the environmental conservation of the forests of Kōyasan.
Opening hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (last entry at 16:30). Admission 500 yen.
- Koyasan and Kumano Access Bus
- UNESCO World Heritage Koyasan Leaflet in English
- Koyasan Reihokan Museum Leaflet in English
- Dai Garan Kongobuki Koyasan leaflet
- Kongobuji Temple Leaflet
- Guide to Koyasan
- Kōyasan – the 1200th Anniversary Since The Foundation