Seven best place to experience Zen meditation around Tokyo

Kyoto is famous for zazen (Zen meditation) but there are also plenty of temples in Tokyo where you can experience it. There are lots of places where beginners and those with experience alike can be taught, so how about trying it?

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*The information may change, so it's recommended that you check the official web sites or call the temple beforehand to double-check the hours, prices, holiday days, etc.

 

THE ZEN DIARY/Flickr

What's zazen?

 

In Zen Buddhism, zazen is a meditative discipline practitioners perform to calm the body and the mind, and be able to concentrate enough to experience insight into the nature of existence and thereby gain enlightenment.

en.wikipedia.org

According to Buddhist teachings, the source of people's sufferings are your natural klesha (polluting thoughts such as hatred and greed.) Klesha are caused by egotism (selfish thoughts are based on attachment to material things.) The goal of zazen is to separate yourself from these klesha so your soul can become nothingness.

THE ZEN DIARY/Flickr

The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was also highly influenced by Buddhist teachings. He left behind sayings like "stay hungry, stay foolish," "death is very likely the single best invention of life," "listen to your inner voice," and other words where the Buddhist influence can be felt.

After understanding the basics about zazen, let's definitely try to experience it!

Temples in the Tokyo suburbs where you can experience zazen

1. Daihonzan Kofukusan Kenchouji

w00kie/Flickr
 

A temple in Kamakura. It takes about 60 minutes from Tokyo Station to get there.

In the past, First Ladies from 8 countries have experienced zazen at Kenchouji.

The details of the zazen experience are as below.

[Hours] Every Friday and Saturday 5PM-6PM
[Location] Yamanouchi 8 Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

[flexiblemap address="神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内8" title="Label Here"]

2. Rinzaishuu Daihonzan Engakuji

A temple in Kamakura. It takes about 60 minutes to get there from Tokyo Station.

The details of the zazen experience are as below.

[Hours] Every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month
Sermon: 9AM - 10AM
Zazen: 10AM - 11AM (Participate freely)
Every Saturday
Beginners: 1:20PM - 2:20PM
People who have been once: 2:40PM - 3:40PM
[Location] Yamanouchi 409 Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

[flexiblemap address="神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内409" title="Label Here"]

 

3. Rinzai Myoujinji Tokyo Zen Center

The details of the zazen experience are as below.

[Hours] Tuesday: 1:30PM - 3:30PM
Saturday: 3:00PM - 5:00PM
*You need to make a reservation in advance.
[Location] Tokyo Zazen Center
[Fees] 500Yen (Application necessary)
[Address] Ryuunji Assembly Hall
3-37-2 Nozawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo-to

 

4. Soutoushuu Gyokuhouzan Chokoji

A good location ten minutes away from Shinjuku Station by foot.

The details of the zazen experience are as below.

[Hours] 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month
- For people with 0 experience in zazen, it's from 3:30PM - 4:30PM
- For people who have been once or more, it's from 1PM - 2:30PM
[Location] Hyakuninchou 1-5-2 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

[flexiblemap address="東京都新宿区百人町1-5-2" title="Label Here"]

5. Seijouyama Kouunji

 

The details of the zazen experience are as below.

[Hours] Saturday Zazen *Refer to the homepage above for details.
[Location] Kinuta 7-12-22 Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

[flexiblemap address="東京都世田谷区砧7-12-22" title="Label Here"]

6. Seishoji

The details of the zazen experience are as below.

[Hours] Saturday, Sunday, Holidays: 2PM - 5PM
Weekdays: Though it's hard to respond to the needs of visitors during the weekdays, we'll undertake what we can at 10AM-11AM and again at 2PM-5PM.
[Location] Atago 2-4-7 Minato-ku, Tokyo

[flexiblemap address="東京都港区愛宕2-4-7" title="Label Here"]

7. Rinsenji

A lot of tourists experience zazen at Rinsenji.

The details of the zazen experience are as below.

[Hours] Every Monday: 6AM - 6:40AM
Every Wednesday: 7PM - 8:30PM
[Location] Kohinata 4-7-2 Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

[flexiblemap address="東京都文京区小日向4-7-2" title="Label Here"]

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

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