It has been an ongoing trend in Japan for monks to reach out to the world by venturing into businesses that will provide them with more of a chance to connect with the public. Generally speaking, people are getting busier and busier every day and the opportunity to visit temples is becoming more and more rare, aside from special occasions. As a result, Hirotake Asano, the head priest of Shingyoji temple, opened up Tera Cafe which enables him to bring the temple to the people.
“Tera” is the Japanese word for temple. The cafe opened in 2013 and is located in Shibuya at Daikanyama Station and is open daily from 11 am to 10 pm. It is a wood-paneled cafe that is cozy and a great place for a cup of coffee or a pint of beer and plenty of good conversation.
But that is not all, the counter-top bar has an extraordinary altar that catches the eye of all the cafe’s customers and is definitely something that can’t be found at standard cafes. On top of that, the cafe has a lovely, warm welcoming atmosphere.
Apart from coffee, beer, and the other food items on the menu, Tera Cafe also provides counseling as part of their service. This is to encourage more and more people, especially the younger generation to visit and seek any advice if needed. It is another way to help restore the lost connection of the 15-century-old tradition to the modern world.
Other than consultations, other items or services available on the menu that is priced at 1,500 yen are the following: prayer beads, calligraphy with sutras and scripture lines.
At the moment, most visitors appear to be middle-aged women who love the cafe’s ambiance. As for the number of people who seek consultation services, a total of 70-80 people sign-up per month. Classes are also available for those who really want to learn Buddha’s teachings.
So why not consider getting in touch with your spiritual side at Tera Cafe? The experience may just surprise you with its calm and peaceful atmosphere. Check it out as part of your Shibuya adventures!