Koya-San was probably my favourite place in Japan. Far from the cosmopolitan cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, Koya-San is a world of its own. Nestled atop of a mountain, at almost 1000m above sea level, this former Buddhist monastery town still retains its old world charm. The small town of about 3000 inhabitants is dotted with a plethora of temples and shrines, as well as a vast UNESCO heritage listed cemetery. We spent the afternoon amongst the cherry blossoms wandering around this picturesque and spiritual town.
Take the train from Namba station in Osaka to Gokurakubashi Station. If coming from Kyoto, take the train to Osaka, then to Shinimamiya to change to Gokurakubashi. From Gokurakubashi, take the cable car up to Koya-San and from the cable car station there is a regular bus service to the main sights in the town. There is a Koya-San pass you can purchase from Namba Station of Shinimamiya Station, which covers all rail and bus services to and from Koya-San.
There are plenty of former temples and shrines which now serve as bed and breakfasts. This is a great option if you want a unique cultural experience in Koya-San.