HOME Kansai Wakayama Wakayama, Koyasan Koyasan Temple Stay: Experience Shukubo At These 5 Temple Lodgings in Japan!
Koyasan Temple Stay: Experience Shukubo At These 5 Temple Lodgings in Japan!

Koyasan Temple Stay: Experience Shukubo At These 5 Temple Lodgings in Japan!

Date published: 5 November 2020
Last updated: 19 February 2021

Shukubo is an accommodation experience where travelers have a chance to do a temple stay and join in meditation and more of the daily routine.

With over 1,200 years of history, Wakayama’s Mount Koya overflows with a deeply spiritual aura propagated by the dozens of ancient temples spread throughout the mountain.

As it happens, 52 temples in the area allow visitors to stay the night, shukubo style, providing travelers with a tranquil place to rest and relax, completed by breakfast and dinner with their renowned vegetarian delicacies!

Here are LIVE JAPAN’s top five temple stays at Mount Koya! All of these facilities are thoroughly complying with COVID-19 protective measures, making them safe places to stay even during the pandemic.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Hongaku-in – A Stunning Garden and Elegant Fusuma
  2. 2. Sekisho-in – Unwind in a Dynamic, Lively Temple Stay!
  3. 3. Saizen-in – One of Mount Koya’s Prestigious Temples!
  4. 4. Joki-in – Temple Stays at the Heart of Mount Koya!
  5. 5. Eko-in – Perfect Temple Stays for First-timers!
  6. Shukubo Temple Stays: Enjoy a Priceless Experience at Mount Koya!

1. Hongaku-in – A Stunning Garden and Elegant Fusuma

1. Hongaku-in – A Stunning Garden and Elegant Fusuma
The fusuma are best viewed from the spacious reception hall!

Hongaku-in – a beautiful temple surrounded by lush, peaceful forest. With 5 Japanese gardens to explore along with dazzling fusuma painted sliding panels, you can forget the troubles of the world and truly let yourself go!

Despite being over 250 years old, the ceiling paintings in the main hall remain bright and vivid!

The fusuma in the main hall are said to have been painted during the Edo period by an artist lodging at the temple.

Visitors are free to take a look, and we recommend checking them out when they are illuminated by the vivid afternoon sun or framed by the long shadows cast at sunset.

The five Japanese gardens offer stunning scenery year-round and are perfect for your shukubo experience. Each room is furnished with a unique angle into the garden, allowing guests a silent stage to reflect and meditate.

Temple lodging rooms boast traditional Japanese tatami flooring. The newly renovated ones present a clean, refreshing mood with modern-day comforts like air-conditioning and television. There are also wheelchairs available along with an accessible toilet.

For food, you’ll be treated to an extravagant Buddhist feast free from animal products, as per Buddhist tradition. From tempura to nimono, a range of Japanese dishes using fresh seasonal ingredients are delicately prepared and packed with flavor!

・Access:
Take the Nankai train heading to Koyasan to the final stop of Gokurakubashi Station. Transfer to the cable car and disembark at Koyasan Station. Take the Nankai Rinkan Bus Line heading to Oku no In or Daimon and get off at Keisatsu-sho Mae. The temple is a 1-minute walk from there.

・Special Assistance for International Travelers:
None

・Anti-coronavirus measures:
Anti-coronavirus measures: Staff wear masks, wash hands, sanitize, gargle, and check temperatures. Facilities are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned. Rooms are disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned after each customer. Rooms are well-ventilated. Capacity is limited; reservations only. Customers feeling unwell or with obvious signs of sickness are refused entry. Customers are required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Customer service has been limited.

・Accommodation Cost:
From 12,000 yen (1 night, 1 adult, breakfast/dinner included) (price does not include tax)

2. Sekisho-in – Unwind in a Dynamic, Lively Temple Stay!

2. Sekisho-in – Unwind in a Dynamic, Lively Temple Stay!

With an impressive 1,100 years of history under its belt, Sekisho-in boasts the kind of refined elegance and spiritual depth that only an ancient temple can provide.

With dozens of temple treasures, including statues of Buddhist bodhisattva Kannon and a magnificent tiger wood carving, you can really feel the lifeforce of ancient Japan flowing around you.

With a massive garden spanning over 6,612 square meters often lovingly called ‘The Pride of Mt. Koya,’ there’s endless sightseeing to do here! The beauty peaks in autumn, with the massive collection of Japanese maple foliage amplifying the scene to another level!

For shukubo, there are two types of rooms; ones with a toilet and bathroom and ones without. Both are traditional washitsu Japanese-style tatami rooms with televisions and free Wi-Fi.

Food is typical of a Buddhist monk meal, forgoing any meat, fish, garlic, and onion. With a wide variety of dishes, including tempura, fried food, sesame tofu, miso soup, and pickles, this assortment blends together to form an intricate piece of art almost too good to eat!

Those who make reservations at these temple lodgings can participate in a number of Buddhist experiences, including a sutra writing class. Buddhist chanting occurs every morning, so be sure to get up early to watch this holy ritual!

・Access
Take the Nankai train heading to Koyasan to the final stop of Gokurakubashi Station. After taking the cable car to Koyasan Station, board the Nankai Rinkan Bus and get off at Hitobashi-guchi. The temple is a 1-minute walk from there.

・Special Assistance for International Travelers:
English assistance available

・Anti-coronavirus measures:
Priests and staff wear masks, wash hands, sanitize, gargle, and check temperatures. Facilities are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned. Rooms are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned after each customer. Rooms are well-ventilated. Partition boards between each table. Capacity is limited, reservations only. Customers feeling unwell or with obvious signs of sickness are refused entry. Customers are required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Customer service has been limited.

・Accommodation Cost:
From 12,000 yen (1 night, 1 adult, breakfast/dinner included) (price does not include tax)

  • Sekishoin
    • Address Koyasan 571, Koyasan, Wakayama, 648-0211
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Koyasan Station (Nankai Koyasan Cable)

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

3. Saizen-in – One of Mount Koya’s Prestigious Temples!

3. Saizen-in – One of Mount Koya’s Prestigious Temples!

Opened by the founder of the Jōdo Shinshū sect of Buddhism, Shinran, Saizen-in is a temple rich in history and prestige.

Right next to the renowned Mount Koya head temple of Kongobuji and the iconic Danjō-garan, fantastic views of local landmarks Konpon Daito, Kondo, and Miedo can be enjoyed from the temple grounds.

Beautiful fusuma decorate the interior.

15 rooms of various sizes are available, all of which are affixed with individual names. Some rooms have private bathrooms and toilets, and all are tatami-style with gorgeous garden views.

Garden views are also aplenty!

Televisions, safes, and cabled internet connection are all provided in these temple lodgings. If you don’t have your own LAN cable, you can borrow one for free at reception. It's an incredible experience that doesn't feel like a shukubo temple stay at all!

Of course, you’ll be treated to authentic Buddhist vegetarian meals, which change depending upon the season. This includes their well-known sesame and Koya tofu, complemented by other seasonal vegetables creating a well-balanced, extremely healthy meal that will leave you satisfied.

Alcoholic beverages are also available, so you can share a drink or two with the other shukubo guests and have a night to remember!

The temple offers many unique events for guests, including various forms of meditation, sutra writing, prayer bead making, and tours of Koya by a Buddhist monk.

・Access
Take the Nankai train heading to Koyasan to the final stop of Gokurakubashi Station. Transfer to the cable car and get off at Koyasan Station. Take the Nankai Rinkan Bus Line and get off at Senju-in Mae. The temple is a 10-minute walk from there. You can also get off at Kongodo (3-minute walk) or Daitou-guchi (2-minute walk).

・Special Assistance for International Travelers:
English assistance available

・Anti-coronavirus measures:
Priests and staff wear masks, wash hands, sanitize, gargle, and check temperatures. Facilities are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned. Rooms are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned after each customer. Rooms are well-ventilated. Partition boards between each table. Capacity is limited, reservations only. Customers feeling unwell or with obvious signs of sickness are refused entry. Customers are required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Customer service has been limited.

・Accommodation Cost:
From 10,000 yen (1 night, 1 adult, breakfast/dinner included) (price does not include tax)

  • Koyasan Saizenin
    • Address Koyasan 154, Koyasan, Wakayama, 648-0211
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Koyasan Station (Nankai Koyasan Cable)

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

4. Joki-in – Temple Stays at the Heart of Mount Koya!

4. Joki-in – Temple Stays at the Heart of Mount Koya!

Surrounded by Koya icons like the head temple Kongobuji, Roku-ji Kane, Danjō-garan, and the Daishikyokai, the temple Joki-in is right in the heart of Mt. Koya.

As you step through the temple gate, you’ll be greeted to a welcoming 4-meter-tall statue of Jizo, a Japanese Bodhisattva who offers protection to children. The temple itself is likewise packed with treasures, some of which are registered cultural assets of Japan!

Wandering the lush green garden, all the stress built up from city life will soon melt away! Don’t miss sitting down on the ‘Hotoke no mi te’, special stone seats resembling a pair of hands that will bring fortune to those who sit on them!

12 rooms of various sizes are available for shukubo, all fixed with air-conditioning, TVs, and Wi-Fi, making for pleasant temple stays!

Dinner and breakfast are carefully assembled using 5 cooking methods (raw, simmered, grilled, fried, steamed) of five flavors (sweet, salty, sour, spicy, bitter) based around five colors (white, black, red, yellow, green/blue). Truly a masterful work of art!

The solemn atmosphere of the magnificent main hall

Guests or sightseers can also participate in morning Buddhist liturgies. Step into the ancient world of Japanese Buddhism and let your thoughts disappear into the hypnotizing chanting of the head priest.

・Access
Take the Nankai train heading to Koyasan to the final stop of Gokurakubashi Station. Transfer to the cable car and get off at Koyasan Station. Take the Nankai Rinkan Bus Line and get off at Kongobuji Mae. The temple is a 1-minute walk from there.

・Special Assistance for International Travelers:
English assistance available

・Anti-coronavirus measures:
Priests and staff wear masks, wash hands, sanitize, gargle, and check temperatures. Facilities are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned. Rooms are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned after each customer. Rooms are well-ventilated. Partition boards between each table. Capacity is limited, reservations only. Customers feeling unwell or with obvious signs of sickness are refused entry. Customers are required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Customer service has been limited.

・Accommodation Cost:
From 10,000 yen (1 night, 1 adult, breakfast/dinner included) (price does not include tax) (price may change depending upon season and capacity)

  • Jokiin
    • Address Koyasan 365, Koyasan, Wakayama, 648-0211
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Koyasan Station (Nankai Koyasan Cable)

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

5. Eko-in – Perfect Temple Stays for First-timers!

5. Eko-in – Perfect Temple Stays for First-timers!

Eko-in – a quintessential Mount Koya temple lodging with a calm and enchanting ambiance ideal for first-timers! Right next to the first bridge of the shrine road facing the Kobo Daishi Mausoleum, this temple is very easy to find and positioned to get the most out of Mount Koya.

While first-time shukubo guests may worry about temple etiquette, the priests and staff here will tell you everything in easy-to-understand English, helping you get in the routine of the temple stay straight away!

The stunning inner-garden

After walking through the gate, the vast, open garden spreads out before you, inviting guests to wander and unwind.

The sacred main hall

The carefully arranged selection of trees and shrubs highlight the beauty of each season, healing tired travelers and making you never want to return to city life! The main hall is enshrined by various Buddhist statues, creating a dignified aura that will inspire awe!

The large temple grounds hold a whopping 35 rooms for shukubo, all with free Wi-Fi, televisions, and air-conditioning, forming a truly comfortable space to kick off your shoes and have a good sleep!

The cooking here draws attention to seasonal vegetables and their famous sesame tofu, creating a delicate and nutritional selection of local dishes, including salads, tempura, fruits, and more.

Meditation practice using the Ajikan method
Writing out sutras – a surprisingly relaxing activity!

A general day at Eko-in looks like this: after checking in at 2pm, join a guided meditation experience using the Ajikan method (reservations necessary) from 4:30pm.

Dinner is at 5:30pm, which you can enjoy at your own pace. Get up bright and early the next day to watch Buddhist chanting at 6:30am and the flame-lit Goma prayer from 7:00am.

Breakfast begins at 7:30am and check-out is until 10:00am. A sutra writing classic is also available for those who want to try their hand at Buddhist calligraphy!

・Access
Take the Nankai train heading to Koyasan to the final stop of Gokurakubashi Station. Transfer to the cable car and get off at Koyasan Station. Take the Nankai Rinkan Bus Line and get off at the Karukayado-mae bus stop. The temple is a 2-minute walk from there.

・Special Assistance for International Travelers:
English assistance available

・Anti-coronavirus measures:
Priests and staff wear masks, wash hands, sanitize, gargle, and check temperatures. Facilities are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned. Rooms are thoroughly disinfected, sanitized, and cleaned after each customer. Rooms are well-ventilated. Partition boards between each table. Capacity is limited, reservations only. Customers feeling unwell or with obvious signs of sickness are refused entry. Customers are required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Customer service has been limited.

・Accommodation Cost:
From 12,000 yen (1 night, 1 adult, breakfast/dinner included) (price does not include tax)

Shukubo Temple Stays: Enjoy a Priceless Experience at Mount Koya!

The World Heritage Site of Mount Koya is the gateway to Japan's mystical and mysterious ancient Buddhist world. Some say the spirit of the original founder, the legendary Kukai, is still practicing in the streets and temples to this very day.

While having a sacred aura only found in the most historical of places, it welcomes visitors from across the world with a number of experiences like meditation, calligraphy, and trying traditional cuisine.

Rooms with free Wi-Fi and televisions ensure you don’t have to say goodbye to the 21st century completely, allowing you to stay in touch while getting away from it all.

While you’re in Japan, don’t miss the chance to spend the night in an authentic ancient Buddhist temple at Mount Koya!

Written by:

WESTPLAN

WESTPLAN

Kiko Matsuda, Keiko Kimura, Risa Tsuji, and a team of female writers familiar with Kansai. We love eating, drinking and traveling! We share fun information based on our experiences.

*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.

Share this article.

Recommended places for you

Recommended articles for first-time visitors to Kansai
Search