The easiest way to get to Koyasan is from Osaka. Nankai Railway's ordinary express (kyuko) Koya Line trains depart from Osaka's Namba Station every half-hour or hour bound for Gokurakubashi, and the trip south takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you want to ride in luxury, Nankai limited-express trains with reserved seating depart five times daily and arrive in Gokurakubashi about 1 hour and 15 minutes later. After arriving at the last stop, Gokurakubashi, you continue your trip to the top of Mount Koya via a 5-minute ride in a cable car. The entire journey from Namba Station to Mount Koya costs ¥1,230 one-way, including the cable car; if you take the faster limited express, it'll cost ¥760 extra. You'll save money, however, with Nankai's discount ticket called Koyasan World Heritage Ticket (available at Namba Station), which includes round-trip travel from Namba Station and the cable car, plus unlimited rides on Koya's buses for 2 days and a 20% discount to the attractions listed below. The cost is ¥2,780 if you travel by ordinary express and ¥3,310 by limited-express. Children pay half fare. For more information on travel to and around Koyasan, go to www.nankaikoya.jp.
At the top of Mount Koya is Koyasan Station, where you'll find a booth of the local tourist office, the main office of which is located approximately in the center of Koyasan village near Kongobuji Temple. You can pick up a map of Koyasan and book a room in a temple at either office, but it is recommended that you fax ahead for a reservation. Both offices are open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm in winter (Nov-Feb), to 5pm the rest of the year. The main office has a computer with Internet access you can use for free, as well as a 90-minute rental audio guide for ¥500 that's highly useful for learning more about what you're seeing throughout Koyasan, including the location of famous mausoleums and tombstones in Okunoin. For more information, contact the Koyasan Tourist Association (tel. 0736/56-2616) or check the websites www.koya.org/eng and www.shukubo.jp/eng.
Outside the cable car station, you must board a bus that travels 2km (1 1/4 miles) along a narrow, winding road to the village of Koyasan and then continues along the main street all the way through town to the Okunoin-guchi and Okunoin-mae bus stops, the location of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. The bus passes almost all the sights along the way, as well as most temples accommodating visitors and the Koyasan Tourist Association's main office. Buses depart every 30 or 40 minutes between 6:29am and 7pm; the trip to Okunoin-mae takes 20 minutes and costs ¥400. Otherwise, once you're settled in at your temple accommodations, you can probably walk to Okunoin.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.