Some temples in Japan, especially in popular pilgrimage destinations, offer temple stays, lodgings (shukubo) to visiting pilgrims and tourists.
Temple stays will offer you an excellent chance to get a taste of the simple, traditional lifestyle of Buddhist monks.
Rooms are similar to those in ryokan, Japanese style with futons rather than beds. The stays vary in quality from old and somewhat dilapidated, to modern and luxurious, but no matter how old or new, the warm wooden buildings make a welcome change from the concrete drabness of most Japanese architecture.
Present all the time in the background, the slight smell of incense adds an exotic tinge to the experience.
Koyasan is one of the most famous place in Japan to experience a night at a temple, with more than 50 temples in town serving as shukubo.
But now hundreds of temples and shrines around Japan offer lodging to tourists and travelers, both foreign and domestic.
Short list of temples in Japan which let you stay overnight
- Tokyo Tsukiji Hongwan-ji, a majestic and unusual Buddhist temple located just a block away from Tsukiji Market, which has 12 Japanese rooms and 3 western style rooms.
- Kyoto Myoshin-ji temple, a huge complex of temples and sub-temples in north-west Kyoto, where you will be able to experience Zen meditation, tea ceremony, calligraphy…
- Nara Hotoji Temple, a temple surrounded by breathtaking views of vast mountains, where you can enjoy sakura in spring and in fall, the colorful autumn leaves.
- Osaka Waqoo Shakadera, the “new generation style shukubo”, located in the vicinity of Osaka Shitennoji Temple, an area packed with approximately 80 temples.
- Saitama Taiyoji (top photo), run by a unique monk, ranked No.1 in the Nikkei Shukubo ranking, where you can experience zazen, yoga, meditation…
But also in Nagano, Kanazawa, Shiga, Aomori…
While most temples are only able to communicate in Japanese, there are a few that have English speaking monks.
Contact us for information and booking.