In Pictures

In pictures: Shadowing the pilgrims on Mount Koya

Tree branches Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Settled as early as the 9th Century, Mount Koya is a Unesco world heritage site in the Wakayama prefecture, just south of Osaka in Japan.

The Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism has its headquarters there and the heavily-forested mountain is criss-crossed with a complex network of tracks and paths still used by pilgrims today.

Photographer Hugh Kinsella Cunningham followed the pilgrimage route, photographing the holy sites, ruins and contemporary graves alongside it.

He shot his series on film, hand-printing the photographs to emphasise the golden tones and mood of the mountain's unique landscape during sunrise and sunset.

A man stands with his back to the camera Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Trees and shrubs Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
A rocket shaped shrine Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Thick groups of trees Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
A box covered by a tarpaulin Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
A view from a hill Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Rows of shrines Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Japanese landscape Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Parts of shrines Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
A traditional Japanese building Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Forest floor Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
A bridge across a river Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
A shrine in the forest Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Part of the pilgrimage route Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Silhouettes of trees at dusk Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
White ribbon tied around a tree Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
The final location of the pilgrimage Image copyright Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

All photographs by Hugh Kinsella Cunningham.

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