Did you know that you can actually stay overnight at temples? Some temples have an attached lodging facility called "Shukubo", a type of guesthouse where visitors can stay overnight. Here you will find our selection of 5 temple guesthouses that we recommend.
1. Ninnaji Temple Omurokaikan
The Ninnaji Temple Omurokaikan is a perfect base for touring around the Kinkakuji Temple, the Ryoanji Temple, and the Arashiyama area, which makes it a very popular guesthouse among tourists. It is located within the temple grounds of "Kyu-Omurogosho Ninnaji", which has been designated a World Heritage Site, and staying overnight comes with the benefit of being able to visit the Omuro Garden for free. In addition, overnight guests are allowed to participate in the morning "otsutome" service in the Golden Pavilion, a private cultural asset, in which Buddhist monks quietly recite sutras before a candle lit statue of Buddha. There is no better way to start a fresh new day.
The guesthouse has been recently renewed in 2010 and 2011, so its interior is very neat. We recommend staying here especially to those who have never stayed at a temple guesthouse before. The prices are 9,800 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay with 2 meals included, 6,200 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay with breakfast included, and 5,400 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay with no meals included.
2. Jorengein Temple
Jorengein is a temple located on a mountain out of Kyoto, and which has a guesthouse for visitors to stay in Ohara. Guests can not only participate in the morning "otsutome" service, but here they can also experience "zazen" and "shakyo" meditation. The meals are vegetarian and use fresh ingredients harvested from the mountain, and they are highly popular among staying guests. In fact, many of the guests actually come here for the food.
The environment that surrounds the guesthouse is good, as well, and all you can hear is the chirping of birds and the streaming water of the river. This is just the perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city and relax. We recommend this guesthouse to those who are tired from work and need a break.
Prices start at 16,000 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay for 2 people sharing one room. Dinner and breakfast are included.
Rokuoin is a women-only guesthouse. The morning "otsutome" service, which is the gem of staying at a temple guesthouse, starts at 6:30 am. The atmosphere in the room grows solemn as the monks recite the scriptures facing the statue of Buddha, and you can feel how your thoughts begin to quiet down. This is the perfect way to start a day in a temple guesthouse.
Rokuoin is located very close to the "Togetsukyo Bridge", a popular sightseeing spot in Arashiyama, and it is also very famous for its autumnal tints. Another thing why we recommend this guesthouse is its beautiful Japanese-style garden. In addition, prices are rather inexpensive, as a 1 night stay with breakfast included starts at 4,500 JPY (tax incl).
4. Myoshinji Daishin-in
If you want to enjoy an authentic experience in a temple guesthouse, we recommend the traditional temple of Myoshinji. It has two guesthouses: "Torin-in" and "Daishin-in", but Daishin-in is the most reasonable of the too, and it also offers a better experience of what staying at a temple guesthouse is like. An elegant wooden corridor runs through the temple, and the rooms match the atmosphere in that they are very austere and simple. The view, which includes the garden and the temple, will help to relax your mind. In the room, you will find instructions in English regarding how to spend your time in the guesthouse.
The bathroom and restroom are shared, and prices are rather inexpensive: 5,000 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay with breakfast included, and 4,300 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay with no meals included. To make a reservation you will need to call on the phone, after which you will receive a postcard that you will need to send back to the temple for confirmation.
5. Chion-in Wajun Kaikan
While Chion-in Wajun Kaikan is right next to the Gion district, where you can enjoy a Kyoto-like atmosphere and shopping, it offers a very authentic temple guesthouse experience. You may wonder how it is possible that this sophisticated guest house actually belongs to a temple, but here you can really enjoy the lifestyle of a Buddhist temple.
The combination of modern facilities and an authentic temple guesthouse experience make this a very popular guesthouse among Japanese fans of this way of traveling.
Prices per person in a shared triple room start at 11,700 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay with 2 meals included, 7,600 JPY (tax incl) for a 1 night stay with breakfast included, and 6,100 JPY(incl. tax)for a 1 night stay with no meals included.
Did you enjoy the article? There are probably many people out there who feel a little reluctant about staying in a temple, but comfortable facilities are on the increase these days. If you want to enjoy a deeper and more meaningful experience than just sightseeing or visiting a temple, you should definitely consider a stay in a temple guesthouse.
*Please note that the prices and other information in the article may not be the most up-to-date information.