Kongobuji Temple
Photo: beibaoke1/DreamstimeKongobuji Temple, one of the main venues for Koyasan Art Days

Unesco World Heritage Site Koyasan in Wakayama is hosting a two month-long art festival

Koyasan Art Days 2023 is running now until December 15

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors

This year marks the 1,250th anniversary since the birth of Kukai, one of the most influential Buddhist priests in Japanese history and the founder of the Koyasan temple complex in Wakayama prefecture. That sprawling mountaintop headquarters of the Shingon sect serves as the venue for this celebration of Buddhist and contemporary art, held to honour Kukai’s memory.

On until December 15, KAD highlights a wide variety of Buddhist and Buddhism-inspired art, from new works created by up-and-coming artists to centuries-old national treasures.

Koyasan Art Days
画像提供:Koyasan Art Days

The art is exhibited in the area surrounding Kongobuji Temple, while a public art showcase and illumination will be held at the garden near the entrances of the Reihokan Museum and Daishi Kyokai, the administrative headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. Among the exhibited pieces are works inspired by artefacts from Koyasan, made by Japanese artists including Tamae Hirokawa, Yuko Bito and Hideki Yoshimoto.

Held at venues including Kongobuji, the Art Days Concerts series will feature classical music performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra string quintet as well as traditional Japanese music played by Wakayama-based group Key Trad.

Make sure to stick around in the evening for the Special Night Openings held at Kongobuji (October 16-20, 23-27) and Reihokan Museum (October 30-November 3) for an opportunity to see these remarkable structures and their surroundings in a different light. Events such as special screenings and talk shows with artists will also take place during the event period, while exhibition panels will be displayed by the Koyasan Tourism Information Center.

Separate entrance fees apply for the night openings. Check the festival website for more information on how to book.

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