Mount K?ya is the name of mountains in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka. Also, K?ya-san is a modifying word for Kong?bu-ji. There is no one mountain officially called K?ya-san in Japan.
First settled in 819 by the monk K?kai, Mt. K?ya is primarily known as the world headquarters of the K?yasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Located in an 800 m high valley amid the eight peaks of the mountain (which was the reason this location was selected, in that the terrain is supposed to resemble a lotus plant), the original monastery has grown into the town of K?ya, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims. The mountain is home to the following famous sites:
• Okunoin, the mausoleum of K?kai, surrounded by an immense graveyard (the largest in Japan)
• Danjogaran, a heartland of Mt. K?ya.
o Konpon Dait?, a pagoda that according to Shingon doctrine represents the central point of a mandala covering not only Mt. K?ya but all of Japan
• Kong?bu-ji, the head temple of the K?yasan Shingon Buddhism
• K?yasan ch?ishi-michi, the traditional route up the mountain
In 2004, UNESCO designated Mt. K?ya, along with two other locations on the Kii Peninsula, Yoshino and Omine; and Kumano Sanzan, as World Heritage Sites "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range"