Weekendtrip to Koyasan: Lodging at a Buddhist temple - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekendtrip to Koyasan: Lodging at a Buddhist temple

Koyasan is not only famous for a lot of old temples and shrines, but it is also known for temples where you can stay the night, or so-called shukubo (宿坊).
And of course me, my father and my anya Haini wanted to try that out as well. There are over 50 temples that offer lodgings, and the one we stayed at is called Ichijyoin (一乗院).

The gate to Ichijyoin
The main building of Ichijyoin 
 We were welcomed by some of the monks upon arrival, and they gave us a tour of the temple. In addition to our room there was of course a lot of other things to see as well in this nearly thousand year old temple.
On of the monks who greeted us when we arrived at Ichijyoin
One of the rooms, with its rich decorations and tokonoma (床の間) alcove.
The corridor by the entrance
Another room (these are not used for lodging, as far as I know)
Part of an old map hanging in the corridor
At 6 o'clock it was time for dinner at our room. Two of the monks came in carrying small tables with our food. Since the monks themselves doesn't eat any meat, the food you get at the lodging is totally vegetarian. Still, there is a lot of different dishes that you get to taste, so I'm sure you'll find something you'll like. Personally I though it was very good too, but I guess the others are a little bit more sceptical to unknown food than me, so after the dinner I kinda get the feeling that some of us still were hungry..

The monks seperating the small tables.
And this wasn't all: the monks came with more food for us while eating as well!
After dinner our room was made into a bed room.
The garden seen from the temple
Me, my father and Heini in front of the temple garden.
The entrance to Ichijoin by night
Ichijyoin also has traditional shoji (障子)-doors made by paper.
Regular slippers, and toilet-slippers.
 In Japan it is usual  to have a set of slippers to use inside the house, and another set you use only in the bathroom. My first week in Japan I "always" walked out of the bathroom in the toilet-slippers even though I knew wery well that those only are for the bathroom. I guess it is something you just got to get used to..

The corridor by night
 In the morning we woke up at 5:50 to participate in the morning ritual in the temple. (There is quite a lot of noise in the temple around that time, so you might be awakened even if you don't intend to get up early)

The hondo (本堂), or main temple building, where the morning rituals are being held.
The roof in the hondo.
An after the morning rituals are finished around 7 o'clock, it was time for breakfast. Again, breakfast as well is 100% vegetarian. Enjoy!
Vegetar breakfast at Ichijoin
Author Image

About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

  • 2Disqus Comment
  • Facebook Comment


  1. The temple looks very nice. Were there a lot of guests staying there besides you guys?

    Haha, I can imagine that if one has got the hunger for bacon, eggs or sandwiches with cheese and ham, a vegetarian breakfast isn't quite going to cut it...

  2. There was quite a lot of Japanese tourists there, but beside a Chinese couple and a family from India we were the only foreigners there..!

    Yeah, I guess when you're used to having a lot of meat in your daily meals the Japanese dishes can be a bit dull in general..
    I mean, I still haven't found any Japanese food I don't like, so I admit I sometimes takes it for granted that my friends and family will like it as well. Which frankly they don't always do, for some reason:-/.. Haha.. :)


comments powered by Disqus

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
・Read more →

Recent Posts


Random Posts