Experience the Temple lifestyle! 8 Best Shukubo Lodgings

History of “Shukubo”began back in the Heian period, when temples started hosting monks and pilgrims . Now the house rules are not as strict as they once were, and many are equipped with various amenities for casual guests. Anyone can take advantage of a shukubo experience, but please do keep in mind that you are staying in a sacred, religious establishment!



1. Sho-unji Temple [Fukushima]



“Shounji” was built back in 1552, during the Muromachi period.  A welcoming temple regardless of religion or sect, they often host persons in difficulty.  During your stay, you will be taught the core of their teaching,“mercy” and “wisdom” by participating in their daily practices.  It is located in the middle of nowhere, so you can also bring your own food.  No Wi-Fi access available, it is a perfect place to detach yourself from the hectic modern world and purify your soul. 

¥3000 half board per person.

HP: shounji.or.jp (Japanese Only)

Address: 643 Yugawa Kadobotokezawa, Higashiyama-machi, Aizu Wakamatsu-shi, Fukushima (Google Map)

2. Shohoin Temple Takenobo [Yamanashi]

The history of“Takenobo” dates back to 13C, the Bun-ei period.  The lodge is located on the left side after going through Sanmon-gate of Minobusan.  You will see a beautiful garden, ever colorful with flowers of all seasons, and a long stairway of 287 steps leading up to Kuon temple.  They cultivate their own fresh food, which you will taste during the meal time.  Meals can be taken in your own room.  A beautiful oasis surrounded by nature, you will be amazed by the stunning starry sky at night!。

¥8000 half board per person

HP: www.takenobo.com (Japanese Only)

Address: 3569 Minobu, Minamikoma-gun, Yamanashi (Google Map)

3. Toyokawakaku, Taeganji Temple [Aichi]


600yr old Tokugawa Inari belongs to the sect “Sodoshu”, it is famous as the patron deity of merchants.  One of the 3 largest Inari shrines of the nation, it was worshipped by the historic legends such as Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi.  Reikozuka, with 1000 statues of sacred foxes is a spectacular sight, and it is said to bring you wealth – no wonder it is so popular!   Here you can experience “okomori”, or the life of a religious hermit, a perfect opportunity to cleanse your spirit!  

¥8000 half board per person

HP: toyokawainari.jp (Japanese Only)

Address: 1 Toyokawa-cho, Toyokawa-shi (Google Map)

4. Hongakuin Temple(Wakayama)

A popular “shukubo” spot famous for the hearty hospitality to welcome the guests, Hongakuin’s history stretches about 900yrs.  All guestrooms are either newly built or renovated, offering you an attractive, comfortable space overlooking its graceful garden.  You can choose between two different courses of their daily practices.  The staff will give you thorough instructions and make you feel at ease, even if you are an absolute beginner.  There are also female monks.  Their extensive service and amenities are almost equal to those of hotels.

¥10500 half board per person
HP: www.hongakuin.jp (Japanese Only)
Hongakuin on Tripadvisor

Address: 618 Koyasan, Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama (Google Map)

5. Nata-dera Temple, Ikumo [Ishikawa]

Ikumo of Hakusan Jinenchi belongs to the sect of Koyasan Shingonshu.  It is said to have opened around 1300 as Natadera.  They started the shukubo service in 1993, offering you a chance to nurture and purify your mind and body surrounded by the majestic nature, and be reborn as “new you”.

¥13000 half board per person (for three guests or more)

HP: www.ikumo-hakusan.jp/en/

HP: www.natadera.com/ikumo (Japanese Only)

Address: 20-13-1420-13.14, Nata-machi, Komatsu-shi, Ishikawa (Google Map)

6. Hashikuraji Temple [Tokushima]



Hashikuraji of the Shingonshu sect was said to be opened by the legendary monk Kobodaishi, and its history spans over 1000 years.  During your shukubo experience you will really come in touch with the life of the Buddhist monks.  It is mandatory to participate in their morning and evening practices, so be prepared!  You will also treated with an authentic Shojin cuisine, a traditional vegetarian dishes of Buddhism.  The temple is also famous for the autumn colors.  There is a cableway service to access the temple.

¥5000 half board per person

HP: www.hashikura.or.jp (Japanese Only)

Address: 1006 Shuzu Kuratani Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima (Google Map)

7. Saijo Inari Myokyoji Temple, Kenmyokaku [Okayama]


Saijo Inari is one of the 3 largest Inari shrines of the nation, it is famous for its unique architecture.  They serve“Kaiseki” style meals, rather than “Shojin”style which is common in shukubo lodging.  This can be a good news for non-vegetarians!  There are many interesting places to see in the premises, so take your time and explore  all corners of this amazing shrine.  This is a good place for the first timer for a shukubo experience!

¥9450 half board per person

HP: www.inari.ne.jp/en/

HP: www.inari.ne.jp/stay/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 800 Takamatsu Inari, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama (Google Map)

8. Gabisan Monjusenji Temple [Oita]

Monjusenji is one of the 3 largest Mahayama Buddhism temples, also known as Gabisan.  Its origin dates back to 648. You can pay a visit to Fudomyo, or Acala. The correct way to greet him is either by chanting, or clapping twice.  You will be walking on a long pilgrim  path as a part of your program, so be sure to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes.  You will receive a thorough instruction when you participate in their daily  practices, and enjoy their delicious Shojin cuisine at the meal time.   

¥12000 half board per person

HP: www.monjyusenji.com (Japanese Only)

Address: 2432 Daionji, Kunisaki-machi, Kunisaki-shi, Oita (Google Map)

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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