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Ever Wanted to Camp at a Japanese Zen Temple? Now You Can!

Ever Wanted to Camp at a Japanese Zen Temple? Now You Can!

Date published: 29 June 2021

Summer's here, and for many, that can only mean one thing: camping! Camping is a popular summer activity in Japan. Whether you're a professional mountaineer or a student on summer vacation, a peaceful nature retreat can be a refreshing zen experience.

This summer, you can enjoy nature's beauty and ancient Buddhist traditions at the same time with a temple stay in Wakayama's Temple Camp Daitaiji!

Grand Opening! Daitaiji, Japan's First Temple Campsite

Grand Opening! Daitaiji, Japan's First Temple Campsite

Daitaiji Temple is a 1,200-year-old historical temple dedicated to the Tendai and Rinzai sects of Buddhism. The temple is located along the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, one of the only two pilgrimage routes listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites in the entire world!

Though Daitaiji Temple itself boasts 1,200 years of history, the Daitaiji Campground is a very new experience! Opened in June 2021, it is the first campsite allowed to be built on temple grounds in Japan.

Surrounded by mountains in the quiet nature of Wakayama Prefecture, Temple Camp Daitaiji will help you lose the stress, and find yourself!

Temple Camp Daitaiji

Temple Camp Daitaiji

Though the facility first opened in November 2020, the June 2021 grand opening will reveal several new upgrades reflecting the voices of past customers. Upgrades include additional services, unique, fun activities, and more accommodation space. The temple grounds can accommodate four campsites and five RVs, each space complete with its own electrical outlet.

Temple Camp Accommodation & Amenities

Temple Camp Accommodation & Amenities

Daitaiji has a total of nine outdoor camping spaces to choose from: four tent plots and five RV parking spaces. All outdoor camping spaces are only 3,000 yen (about US$28) per night, including tents, cars, and RVs, and can only be booked for one night at a time.

Outdoor amenities include everything you'd expect from a typical campground, such as toilets and fire pits, plus access to Daitaiji's temple experiences.

If you prefer to relax indoors, you can also book one of two traditional temple rooms: the Hanare Room or the Kyakuden. Room rates start at around 15,000 yen for up to three people per night, with an additional fee of 4,500 yen for each additional person. Rooms also include full hotel amenities and a kitchen space.

Temple Camp Activities

Temple Camp Activities

You may be wondering, what fun activities can you do at a temple? Don't worry - at Daitaiji, there's much more to do besides sitting around in meditation (that's only part of it!)

While you will certainly get in touch with your spiritual side with zazen instruction and a morning meditation session guided by real Buddhist monks, there are many exciting and interactive activities, as well!

Camping and Zen Meditation at a 1,200-Year-Old Buddhist Temple

Camping and Zen Meditation at a 1,200-Year-Old Buddhist Temple

Start your day with a traditional monks' breakfast of rice porridge and pickled vegetables. After that, set the pace for your day with a morning meditation session, led by real Buddhist monks! The hour-long session will relax your mind and improve your focus, and costs 1,100 yen per person. Shorter 30-minute meditation are also available, and recommended for campers with young children.

Other traditional Buddhist experiences include shakyo, the therapeutic practice of sutra copying, ringing of the temple bells, and a guided tour of the temple's Buddhist statues (additional fees may apply; advanced reservation required for all activities).

Outside of the temple, you can pitch a tent, start a campfire, or go for a hike! Nearby you will find the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, beautiful historical landmarks (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with amazing nature, architecture, and plenty of hiking trails.

Afterward, rejuvenate yourself by sweating out impurities in the riverside sauna, followed by a cool dip in the river to wash it all away.

Daitaiji Temple Camp Details

Reservations are open now and online only! The website is available in English, Chinese, and Japanese.

After a long, stressful period in lockdown, many people are finding themselves in need of a retreat. And with the uncertainty of the virus lingering, there is a greater demand for safe outdoor travel options.

Daitaiji offers all the excitement of a camping trip with the tradition of an ancient temple and the safety you need for peace of mind. Book your trip now!

Written by Krys Suzuki
Source: PR Times

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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