Legend has it that Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, threw a Buddhist ceremonial tool from China, where he had been studying, to Japan. Later, having returned to Japan, and in search of a place to base his new religion, he came across this tool in the branches of a pine tree on Mount Koya and thus started to build the Garan, Koyasan’s central temple complex on that spot.
Since the founding of Koyasan in 816, the Dai (Great) Garan has been one of the most important areas on Mt. Koya. The Dai Garan is the centre of buddhism in Koyasan and where Buddhist monks gather for their practices and hold many important annual ceremonies and events.
The Garan features different temples within its main complex, incuding the Kondo (the golden hall) and Konpon Daito (Great Pagoda) which Kobo Daishi planned to be the centre of his monastic complex.
The Garan is very famous for its large statue of the Buddha Mahavairochana (the fundamental deity of Shingon Buddhism) surrounded by the Four Buddhas of the Kongokai.