Most of my time during my three-night stay in Osaka would actually be spent outside the city, and on my first morning I walked down to Namba Station where I purchased a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket. This would be my ticket to Mount Koya—also known as Koyasan—a temple village in the mountains about 50 km (32 miles) south of Osaka. I rode a Nankai Railway train south to the town of Hashimoto where I transferred to another train that would take me to Gokurakubashi Station. (Note that the JR rail pass does not cover Nankai Railway trains.)
At Gokurakubashi Station I got off the train and boarded a cablecar that would take me higher up into the mountains.
A 5-minute ride on the cablecar brought me to a bus station where I found the bus that would take me to the center of Koyasan. It’s illegal to walk the road between the bus station and Koyasan, so you have to take a bus even if you feel like hiking.
The bus dropped me off at the Senjuinbashi bus stop, which is right in the middle of Koyasan. This village kind of reminds me of some of the mountain towns in my state of Colorado, so even though I was thousands of miles away from home it felt strangely familiar. The mountain air felt nice in my lungs and the cool, sunny weather was just about as close to perfect as I could have hoped for. Altogether it had taken about 2 hours to get here from Namba Station in Osaka. After stepping off the bus and taking a quick look around I checked my map one more time to verify the places I’d be visiting that day and then I started my tour of Koyasan.