Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Sacred Mount Koya: Stay Overnight At A Temple!
Find out what it is like staying overnight at one of Japan's famed Buddhist temples in Mt. Koya. Discover what rooms are like, its meals and other spiritual experiences that can only be enjoyed on this sacred mountain.
Written by Yumiko Delor
What Is Shukubo?
The term shukubo (temple lodging) formally referred to places for monks to stay that originated in China. However, after an increase of visitors, going to temples in the mountains such as Mt. Koya became very difficult to visit in a single day and required places for visitors to stay overnight.
Therefore, rooms for monks were opened to visitors, and this became the start of the temple lodging tradition.
Until the Meiji period, the entire Mt. Koya area was referred to as the Head Temple of Kongobu-ji. Aside from Kongobu-ji Temple and Tatchujiin Temple, there were 812 temples within Mt. Koya and currently, 117 of them still remain.
Out of the many temples, fifty-two of them allow visitors to stay overnight. Depending on the temple you stay at, the meals and rooms will vary. Some enjoy visitors actually stay at various temples to experience the differences between them during their travels.
This time, we will stay at the Hongakuin Temple, which is located fairly close to the Kongobu-ji Temple.