FOR FOREIGNERS IN JAPAN
Note: Temples are Buddhist, Shrines are Shinto
Many site readers have asked what temples might accommodate them for a few days of study, prayer, retreat, or short-term participation in monastery life. Many only offer Shojin Ryori 精進料理 (Shōjin Ryōri or vegetarian food for monks). The below page presents some outside links to Japanese temples and resources that may assist you in your search.
- Temple Lodging in Japan is a wonderful site with numerous listings of Shukubo (temples & shrines that offer accommodation facilities).
- Zen Temples and Centers
- Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)
- Mount Koya Shukubo
- Ed Jacob’s Site
- BuddhaNet Listings
BuddhaNet.net for some reason discontinued the below pages. I reproduce them here for the convenience of readers.
- DharmaNet's General Directories of
Buddhist Associations, Monasteries & Practice Centers
The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery
Available at Amazon.com. Author Janwillem van der Wetering has written three books on Zen Buddhism. "The Empty Mirror" is an account of the author's stay in a Japanese monastery as a lay guest. He knew no Japanese and not a soul in Japan, "not even a mother's friend’s cousin." He rang the bell at the gate (which turned out to be a bell used only for monastery business) and began his journey.
- Hiking Japan's Holy Places
Hike Japan specializes in guided walking holidays. The tours, which started in 2003, offer an alternative to most other package holidays. They are designed for people who are naturally active and adventurous. They explore extraordinary landscapes and sites of special cultural and environmental interest. These include the sacred sites and the pilgrimage routes in the Kii mountain range (which gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004), the Odaigahara limestone plateau, the Alps in Central Japan, the beech forests of the Shiragami mountains in the far northwest, the ancient cedar forests on the volcanic island of Yakushima in the far southwest of Japan, the ancient capitals of Asuka and Nara, Izumo on the Japan Sea coast, the cherry blossoms in the Yoshino mountains, the island of Kyushu, Mount Fuji, and Tokyo. Hike Japan also offers a 20-day tour called "Northern Horizons," which includes walks in Akita and Aomori prefectures, then travels across Hokkaido to the Shiretoko Peninsula.
- Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes
in the Kii Mountain Range, World Heritage Sites of Japan
- Japan-Guide’s Japanese Temples Page
- Kyoto Hotels & Accomodations
- For more on temples, please see this site’s Temple Page.
TEMPLES -- SOME BASIC GUIDELINES
The key to appreciating temples is to know a little bit about Buddhism. If you don't know which Buddha the statues and paintings represent, or the sect the temple belongs to or its history, it is very likely the temple will be of little interest to you. Japanese shrines have more things to do, such as having one's fortune told and reading the wishes, but shrines rarely offer sculpture for public viewing. If your interest is in Buddhist statuary, you need to visit Buddhist temples. Click here to read more.
Last Update = Sept. 3, 2013
Last Update = May 13, 2012
Last Update = Oct. 29, 2008