Always wanted to understand a bit of religion or spirituality in Japan? Well, probably the best way is to stay in a temple with the monks! It will definitely help you to understand and to learn more about the mystery of the religious atmosphere. In this article, we are recommending you to try a few ‘hostel-temples’ near Koya-San. This Mountain is located in the prefecture of Wakayama in the Kansai area, just at the south of Osaka.
On the Mount Koya you will find more than hundreds of temples and approximately half of them provide rooms for people to stay, they are called Shukubo. It is also a great opportunity for you to try traditional Japanese rooms, and also to eat the Buddhism vegetarian cuisine called Shojin. Another reason to go to Koya-San is because it offers sacred sites and pilgrimage routes recognized as a world heritage by the UNESCO. Below are the two of the most and heartily recommended Shukubo.
The Sukubo Koya-San Eko-In is a thousand years old Buddhist temple that offers Japanese-style accommodation with a lovely traditional garden. You can hence enjoy the experience of sleeping on a tatami with a futon. The good thing with this Shukubo is that it is located near Kongobu-Ji which is an ancient temple that is worth to visit. You can also reach within a few minutes the Okuno-In temple and its famous Ichi-no-Hashi entrance.
Koya-San Ekoin Website
Shojoshinin temple is one of the oldest temples in the Mount Koya and it is another great place to stay because you can enjoy an indoor bath and share it with other travelers. Baths are not mixed, it’s by gender only. Some of the staff is able to speak a little English and therefore they’ll give you information of what to see around. You can have a great dinner and breakfast as well!
The easiest way is to come from Osaka because from Namba Station you can take the Nankai Electric Railway to go to Gokurakubashi Station which is at the base of the mountain. It takes between 1h30 to 2h to do the trip.
If hiking is not your thing, but you still want to experience staying in a temple, you can go on top of Mount Koya with a cable car!