Accommodation types: Church   Traditional
Location: Koya  Japan  East Asia
Koyasan Saizen-in Temple - Spiritual Stay In A Japanese TempleKoyasan Saizen-in  
Temple

Japan is worldwide known for its quirky and unique cultural characteristics in architecture, art, traditions, and daily life. And it's no different when it comes to staying in a hotel. Japan offers kinky stays at love hotels, affordable and slightly crammed in capsule hotels, and also something called Shukubo. It's the most traditional accommodation experience you can have. Shukubo means temple stay, which includes partaking in meditation as well as the daily routines of the Buddhists – if you will.

The profoundly spiritual experience is rooted in the welcoming culture of Buddhism. The hospitality tradition started centuries ago when temples offered an overnight stay for pilgrims. The life inside these temples has hardly changed in the past century. However, today you can book a unique stay without the need to be a Buddhist priest or a practitioner.

Koyasan Saizen-in Temple was opened by the founder of the Jōdo Shinshū sect of Buddhism, Shinran. It's located next to the renowned Mount Koya head temple, the center of Shingon Buddhism.

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Koyasan Saizen-in Temple
Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Historical Tombs

The spiritual retreat is home to three gardens designed by an artist, Mirei Shigemori. They are interconnected by the abundance of the waters of Koyasan.

Magical Japanese Garden At The Koyasan Saizen-in Temple
Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Garden View Corridor
Koyasan Saizen-in Hotel Interior Tatami Floors

The temple offers traditional Japanese rooms fitted with sliding wooden doors, tatami mat flooring, and thick futons - padded unsprung mattresses. The 15 rooms come in various sizes and comfort levels, but they all offer magical garden views.

Koyasan Saizen-in Guesthouse Traditional Japanese Room
Koyasan Saizen-in Guesthouse Room With Balcony
Koyasan Saizen-in Guesthouse Twin Room
Koyasan Saizen-in Guesthouse Garden View Dining

The food is cruelty-free, of course. The Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, Shojin ryori, is made of lots of vegetables, including a steaming pile of rice, locally sourced seasonal vegetables and herbs, vegetable tempura, and freshly made Koya tofu. Of course, as a guest, you can have a beer or sake too.


When you hear the temples gong, the eating rituals start. You will sit cross-legged at low tables on square zabuton cushions. The Shojin ryori concept goes back to the 6th century when Buddhists introduced it in Japan.

Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Buddhist Food

At the Koyasan Saizen-in Temple, you will be able to listen to the therapeutic chanted prayers of the Buddhist monks and a slow way of life. Other unique experiences include various forms of meditation, writing sutras, making your own prayer beads, and tours of Mount Koya by a Buddhist monk.

Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Ritual
Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Balcony Colorful Forest View
Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Lantern
Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Garden
Koyasan Saizen-in Temple Traditional Architecture
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154 Koyasan, Koya, Ito District, Wakayama 648-0289, Japan
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