Mount Kōya is a large temple settlement in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan to the south of Osaka.
In the strictest sense, Mount Kōya is the mountain name of Kongōbu-ji Temple, the ecclesiastical headquarters of the Koyasan sect of Shingon Buddhism.
Mount Koya (高野山, Kōyasan) is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), one of Japan’s most significant religious figures.
A small, secluded temple town has developed around the sect’s headquarters that Kobo Daishi built on Koyasan’s wooded mountain top.
It is also the site of Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum and the start and end point of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.
Mount Kōya’s Buddhist cuisine follows preparation methods that have been passed down by Kōbō-Daishi – founder of the Esoteric Shingon school of Buddhism – since the mountain was opened up.
This interesting cooking style focuses on the adherence to “five tastes (sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, savory)”, “five colors (white, yellow, red, blue, black)”, and “five methods (raw, cooked, roasted, fried, steamed)”.
Much work also goes into the presentation and seasoning, making it a meal that anyone can heartily enjoy.