|At on time there were 1500 monastaries, now less
than 120 remain.
Koya-san has had a very eventful history. Kobo Daishi founded
the Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism in 816 on this mountain.
He was a very famous religious figure and scholar and invented
the Japanese kana syllabary. He is believed to be simply resting
in his tomb, meditating, and awaiting the arrival of the Buddha
of the Future.
||During the 11th century it became popular to
leave hair or ashes close to Kobo Daishi's tomb to be one of
the first in line when he awakens. There are now thousands of
tombs around Okuno-in Temple.
|In the 16th century, monks were slaughtered in
large numbers as a demonstration of power by Oda Nobunaga and
their lands were confiscated by the government. At that time
their estates were their primary source of income.
|The government eventually sanctioned the priests
to charge fees for religious ceremonies and the keeping of cemeteries.
The cost that Buddhist priests receive today for performing
ceremonies is thought by many to be exorbitant.
Women were barred from entry to Koya-san