Thank you for coming to Koyasan from Norway.
Almost all of tourists use Nankai train and bus to reach Koyasan as their time is rather limited but as a very rare case, I guided a tourist from Norway on April 16, 2018 all the way from his guesthouse near JR Koyaguchi station to Jimyo-in Temple in Koyasan by walking through Choishimichi, the ancient pilgrimage route connecting Jison-in Temple in Kudoyama and Daimon gate at the western edge of Koyasan. We left the guesthouse at 8:15 a.m. and arrived at jimyo-in Temple around 4:20 p.m. after having walked almost 30 km.
After Kukai founded his monastic retreat in Koyasan, many roads were build to the holy land during Japan’s Heian Period (794-1185). Yet, they merged near the mountains into just seven primary paths that lead to the top. Of those seven paths, the approach from Jison-in Temple in Kudoyama to Daimon gate of Koyasan is known as Choishimichi, or lilerally the “stone marker path”. It is the original path that Kukai marked with wooden stupa when he first established his sanctuary. In the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), the old and withered wood posts were replaced with stone markers in the shape of a five-tierd pagoda, spaced one Cho ( approx. 109 m) apart. Exactly 180 stone markers, one each for the 180 Buddha saints of the womb realm mandalas, were erected from the starting point at Konpon Daito to the last one found on the stone steps leadig to Jison-in Temple. These stone markers are symbols of faith, as it is said that pilgrims clasped their hands in prayer at every one of these saints as they climbed the mountain. Traveled by emperors and commoners alike on pilgrimages to the top, the Choishimichi is truly a road of faith and worship. This path was registered as a World Heritage in July, 2004.