After Kukai founded his monastic retreat in Koyasan, many roads were built 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 well known as Choishi-michi, or literally 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 mandala, were erected from the starting point at Konpon Daito to the last one found on the stone steps leading to Jison-in Temple. These stone markers are symbols of faith, as it is said that pilgrims put their hands together in prayer at every one of those saints as they climbed up the mountain. Traveled by emperors and commoners alike on pilgrimages to the top, the Choishi-michi is truly a road of faith and worship. This path was registered as a World Heritage in July, 2004. There are also another 36 stone markers from Konpon Daito at Garan to Mausoleum of Kobo Daishi at OKuno-in. This road represents the Mandara world of Daiamond realm.
See the blog about Choishi-michi hiking