Koyasan Temple Lodging


In some areas around Japan like Nagano, Kyoto, Mount Mitake, Dewa Sanzan, there are many Buddhist temples that offer accommodation called Shukubo for worshippers, followers, pilgrims and even visitors as a way to experience a Buddhist monk’s life as well as Japanese culture. Koyasan, as the holy land of religious and history, gets about 52 temple lodgings near pilgrimage destinations, becoming the best choice for foreign visitors. Completely different from luxurious hotels, you can find in temple lodging grounds a tranquil atmosphere full of trees and water’s breath, living inside warm wooden buildings and walking through long corridors to enjoy temple architecture and treasures seen through small windows normally inaccessible to the ordinary public.

Koyasan Temple Lodging

Annyoin-one of Koyasan Temple Lodgings

Source: Annyoin

Rooms in Koyasan temple lodgings is similar to ryokan- a type of traditional Japanese inn characterized by sliding paper doors called fusuma, tatami floors with a futon spread out on while the toilets and sinks are shared with other rooms. In winter, they also arrange gas heaters and heated tables in rooms. No concrete, no steel, you will live with wooden and paper and feel a comfortable life with these soft materials.

Koyasan Temple Lodging

A room in Soujiin Temple

Source: Soujiin 

A day  in Koyasan temple lodging will start with morning ceremony with about  a hour before breakfast. You can simply join a walk around the temple on a sightseeing tour or see a fire ceremony. Besides, some temples hold morning prayers depending on their Buddhist sect. You may sit and keep quite but can also participate by chanting or serving near the altar, all depend on your level of participation. Zazen, sutra copying and mediation are some other interesting morning ceremony. Zazen, with your legs crossed and eyes closed, you need to empty your mind, breath slowly in the fresh air and set your body free, you will feel everything frozen in the moment, all stress away and you are healthy enough to live for more hundred years.

Koyasan Temple Lodging


Source: Henjoson

There is a kind of mediation called Ajikan for enriching and healing mind while waterfall mediation is an other mediation kind which takes place under the fierce stream of water. Sutra, also known as Hannya Shingyo, is the major Buddhist scripture. It is really appropriate for patient ones who can sit and concentrate on copying the sacred words or Buddha pictures. If you are a beginner of any ceremony, dont worry because there will be an introduction session first.

Koyasan Temple Lodging

Shojin Ryori at Henjoson

Source: Henjoson

Shojin ryori seems to be the most interesting in Koyasan temple lodging. It is a kind of vegetarian cuisine serving in the past for training monks without fish, meat or any smell vegetables like onion and garlic and substituted by rich protein plant like tofu or devil’s tongue jelly called konnyaku. Koya-dofu, freeze dried tofu, and Goma-dofu are some dishes made by tofu while tofu-like cake is served with ground white sesame seeds and kuzu flour dissolved in water. All of them get nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals which are good for health and even can protect body from diseases.

Koyasan Temple Lodging

Shojin Ryori at Yoshiin temple

Source: Yochiin

Visitors ara advised to bring a Japanese conversation textbook for travelers for deep understanding ceremony of Koyasan temple lodging. When in the Rome, do as the Romans do, there are some rules of religious places that you have to follow. You certainly don’t need to be so serious or extremely formal, however, should control your voice or your habit of taking photo and respect the religious rituals whether you are Buddhist or not.

Open time: 

Varied by temples


Varied by temples, from 9,000 yen to 15,000 yen/person/night

How to access: 

-By train: take Limited Express or Express trains from Osaka Namba Station or Wakayama Station to Koyasan Station and take 10 minute walk to Koya town.

-By car: 

Follow Rt 371 from  Osaka’s Kawachi-nagano to Hashimoto, Rt 24 from Hashimoto to Koyaguchi and Kudoyama and Rt 370 & 480 from Kudoyama to Koyasan.

Folow Rt 42, 311 & 371 from Shirahama or Tanabe to Ryujin and Koya-Ryujin Skyline from Ryujin to Koyasan.