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Hiking Course Koya Nanakuchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Sites of the Women’s Halls at the Seven Approaches to Koyasan), Koya Sanzan-meguri (Trail Connecting the Three Peaks of Koyasan)

map of hiking course Ryujin-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Ryujin Approach) Daimon-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Daimon Approach) Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo (Women’s Hall at the Fudosaka Approach) Otaki-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Otaki Approach) Omine-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Omine Approach) Kuroko-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Kuroko Approach) Ainoura-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Ainoura Approach) Mt.yoryu Mt.Mani Mt.Tenjiku

Koya Nanakuchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Sites of the Seven Halls Along the Koyasan Women’s Route),
Koya Sanzan-meguri (Three Peaks of Koyasan) Hiking Course (about 16km, about 5 hours 30 minutes)
*Click on the points on the map for details.
*The time is an estimate. Time for visiting buildings etc. is not included.

hiking course

The Seven Approaches to Koyasan and the Nyonindo Halls
The terminal points of the seven trails leading to Koyasan are called the Koya Nanakuchi. Until the prohibition against women entering Koyasan was lifted in 1872, these sites were the furthest women were permitted to enter Koyasan. At the end of each trail a small hall was constructed for the religious use of female pilgrims. These Nyonindo (Women’s Halls) were connected by a Nyonin-michi (Women’s Trail) that is still extant today.

Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo

Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo
Before the prohibition on women entering Koyasan was lifted, Nyonindo (Women’s Halls) were built at the terminal points of the seven trails leading to Koyasan for religious devotions. The Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo is the only extant Women’s Hall today, and was built at the end of the Fudozaka approach to Koyasan. The Fudozaka trail was the most travelled, connecting to Kyoto and Osaka (Kyo Osaka-michi, a.k.a. Koya Kaido).
Koya Sanzan-meguri (Trail Connecting the Three Peaks of Koyasan)
The three mountains surrounding the Okunoin area are known as Mt. Mani, Mt. Yoryu, and Mt. Tenjiku. When women were forbidden from entering Koyasan, they followed the trail connecting these three mountains. It is unknown when this pilgrimage route was established, but by the late Edo period it was known as the Three Mountains Pilgrimage.

Koyasan map
Koya sanzan route & Women pilgrimage route
Download PDF here (902KB)

Scenic points from the mountaintops here! Scenic points from the mountaintops here!

Koyasan sights are much more than just temples.
Once a pilgrimage route, there is also a hiking course rich in nature and scenic views of the surrounding mountains. The view from the mountaintops is spectacular! Some are introduced here.

  • point01 Peak of Mt. Bentendake
  • point02 From Mt. Bentendake to Namujizo-bosatsu
  • point03 Near the former site of the Nyonindo (Women’s Hall) at the Ainoura-guchi approach
  • point04 Near Rokuro Pass

The Seven Benzaiten (Sarasvati)
Shrines of Koyasan
Dake Benten (Mt.Bentendake)
The seven Benzaiten shrines of Koyasan are: Kadode Benten, Osaki Benten, Maruyama Benten, Tsunahiki Benten, Yuyani Benten, Haraikawa Benten, and Dake Benten.
Kobo Daishi Kukai is said to have invited the goddess Benzaiten (Sarasvati) to Dake Benten from Tenkawa Benten Shrine. A Tengu (legendary long-nosed goblin) named Myoon-bo is said to guard Dake Benten.

The Seven Benzaiten (Sarasvati) Shrines of Koyasan The frontal approach to Dake Benten Shrine leads from the Daimon Gate, and the rear approach as the Nyonin-michi (Women’s Trail) leads from the Nyonindo (Women’s Hall). These trails are well-managed.

About Koya Nanakuchi

The seven trails leading to Koyasan

The seven trails leading to Koyasan, called the Koya Nanakuchi-kaido, were frequented by pilgrims, and are now a popular hiking route. The trails are registered as World Heritage Sites along with the Koyasan Choishi-michi and Kumano Kodo Kohechi pilgrimage trails, and each course can be enjoyed during a single day’s hike. Take a hike along an ancient trail full of nature and history.

Seven Trails Leading to Koyasan

  • Koyasan Choishi-michi Trail
  • Koya Kaido Kyo Osaka-michi Trail
  • Kuroko-michi Trail
  • Omine-michi Trail
  • Kumano Kodo Kohechi Trail
  • Arida Ryujin-michi Trail
  • Ainoura-michi Trail
Let’s walk!
Please note:
The stated time required does not include any time for lunch or resting. A standard pace was used to estimate the time, and does not take into consideration individual paces. Please keep your pace.
Take any garbage or empty cans out with you. Be careful of fire, ashes and filters when smoking.
Pay attention to your physical condition and the weather. Wear clothes suitable for hiking.
Check the times for buses and trains beforehand.
The course may be closed due to natural disaster or construction, etc.
The information given here is as of January 2016. Note that the content may change.

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Ryujin-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Ryujin Approach)

This is the former site of the women’s hall located at “Ryujin-guchi (Ryujin Approach),” one of the Koya Nanakuchi (Seven Approaches to Koyasan). Ryujin-guchi marks the point where the Kumano pilgrimage trail “Nakahechi” forks northward and connects with Ryujin-michi Trail, which runs to Koyasan via Ryujin, Arida, and Yukawa.

Daimon-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Daimon Approach)

This is the former site of the women’s hall located at “Daimon-guchi (Daimon Approach),” one of the Koya Nanakuchi (Seven Approaches to Koyasan). Daimon-guchi is connected with Koyasan Choishi-michi Trail, and marks the entranceway of the frontal-approach pilgrimage trail that was most commonly used.

Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo (Women’s Hall at the Fudosaka Approach)

This is one of the women’s halls that were built at the terminal points of the seven pilgrimage trails leading to Koyasan before the prohibition on women entering Koyasan was lifted in 1872. Fudozaka-guchi Nyonindo is the only women’s hall at the Koya Nanakuchi (Seven Approaches to Koyasan) still in existence today. The Fudozaka trail was the most commonly used pilgrimage trail among persons traveling to Koyasan from Kyoto or Osaka via Kyo Osaka-michi (Koya-kaido) Road.

Otaki-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Otaki Approach)

This is the former site of the women’s hall located at “Otaki-guchi (Otaki Approach),” one of the Koya Nanakuchi (Seven Approaches to Koyasan). It marks the starting point of “Kohechi,” one of the Kumano pilgrimage trails, and it leads to Koyasan from Kumano via Otaki.

Omine-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Omine Approach)

This is the former site of the women’s hall located at “Omine-guchi (Omine Approach),” one of the Koya Nanakuchi (Seven Approaches to Koyasan). This leads to Koyasan from Mt. Sanjogatake in the Omine Mountain Range via Dorogawa and Tenkawamura-Sakamoto. This route served as a commonly used pilgrimage road to Koyasan from Yoshino-Omine since ancient times.

Kuroko-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Kuroko Approach)

This is the former site of the women’s hall located at “Kuroko-guchi (Kuroko Approach),” one of the Koya Nanakuchi (Seven Approaches to Koyasan). It marks the entranceway of Kuroko-michi Trail, which runs to Koyasan from Nara via Yamato-kaido Road, Kiyomizu, and then Nikenchaya. Kuroko-michi Trail is sometimes referred to as “Taiko-michi (path of the ‘Retired Regent,’ Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s honorific title” because it is said that Toyotomi Hideyoshi once rode a horse down this path.

Ainoura-guchi Nyonindo-ato (Former Site of the Women’s Hall at the Ainoura Approach)

This is the former site of the women’s hall located at “Ainoura-guchi (Ainoura Approach),” one of the Koya Nanakuchi (Seven Approaches to Koyasan). Ainoura-guchi marks a route to Koyasan from Ryujin and Arida via the Japanese umbrella-pine producing area Ainoura, that has been used as a route for the transportation of goods since the late Edo period.

Mt. Yoryu

This peak has an elevation of 1,008.5 meters. The “Willow Bodhisattva (Yoryu Kannon),” which holds a willow branch in one hand, is enshrined at the summit. This bodhisattva is also referred to as the “Medicine King,” and is believed to have healing powers.

Mt. Mani

This peak has an elevation of 1,004.0 meters. It is said that Kobo-Daishi Kukai buried a Cintamani stone (a wish-fulfilling jewel) at the summit, and the dragon god Ryujin protects it.

Mt. Tenjiku

This peak has an elevation of 915.0 meters. At the summit there is a shrine honoring the bodhisattva Maitreya. It is said that Kobo-Daishi Kukai buried the sword of the deity Acala (a treasured sword) at Mt. Tenjiku Peak. There is also an anecdote that “Rishukyo” Buddhism scripture was also buried here but decayed so that only their gilt-bronze scroll centers remain, and this is thought to be the basis for the Japanese name of this peak.