Find your inner bliss at Jokiin
During my visit to mount Koya one of the most incredible things to experience is to stay in a temple.
With over 200 temples and 50 temples that offer lodging (shukubo) it was hard to find one especially because most of them have no english website. Jokiin became my choice because of the easy way to book and its affordable prices.
The temple itself is situated across the most famous temple in Koya – Kongobuji and easily reachable by bus from the funicular. As soon as I stepped into the halls I was greeted by monks and with a short introduction to “life” at a temple I was shown to my room. A beautiful and enormous tatami floor room with a livingroom and an additional bedroom separated by sliding doors. I even had my own anteroom. A tea kettle, air-conditioning and even a TV (who would need a TV here?) are available. Washing area and toilets are outside and are shared but something that would be annoying or even gross turned out to be absolutely fine because everything is clean, smells neutral and is easily accessible to all guests.
The bathing area was in a separate house but because traditional bathing in Japan is a wonderful experience and the common bathing area has a mineralized hot tub I was always looking forward to it. Be aware that there are no private showers or any private areas within the bath. And definitely check out our guide to bathing etiquette in Japan.
What you absolutely should book is half board because there is almost no place outside of the temple to have dinner AND because eating temple food is just as exciting as staying in a temple. It is called Shojin Ryori – a unique vegetarian Buddhist cuisine that I explain in a bit more detail in my Koyasan article.
The garden areas were impeccable with so much love for detail and harmony. A place where I could wander around, relax and it gave me the opportunity to try meditating (I am an amateur in this)
Breakfast ist usually served at 7am and dinner at 6pm/7pm which sounds weird but it is absolutely logical. At 6am I joined the monks in the prayer hall for meditation and prayers – I was freaked out because no one was there to welcome me in but here you just step in take a chair (or sit on the floor) and enjoy the holy moment. You don’t need to be religious for this. It is more about the mindset and the calm feeling you have afterwards that gives you energy for the day. The dinner is served at 6pm/7pm because soon after almost everything in Koya closes and it is time for relaxation, reading, talking, bathing, sleeping. Giving yourself the time to be.
Being in Koyasan is a unique and unforgettable experience and if you have a bit of time you should absolutely put it on your itinerary and stay for 2 nights otherwise with Okunoin and temple visits there will be almost no time to really enjoy your temple stay.
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Japan, 〒648-0211 Wakayama Prefecture, Ito District, 高野町Koyasan, 365番地