Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes
in the Kii Mountain Range
In Japan it was long believed that gods could be found in all of nature. The not easily accessible Kiji mountain range was considered holy ground, and by the seventh century at the latest had become a place of ascetic practice where mystical powers hidden in nature could be acquired.
Mt.Koya is the sacred site centered around Kongobu-ji Temple funded in 816 by the Higeh Priest Kukai as the principle site for moutain asceticism, the severe forms of self-discipline practiced by the Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism, which Kukai brought to Japan from China. There are many temples in the moutains, and in the Okuno-in area, tombstones of every era, including those of famous historical figures.