Looking for a unique experience in Japan? Then, staying at Shukubo (temple accommodation) at Mt Koya can be your choice! Mt Koya; a sacred place for Japanese Esoteric Buddism found by Kukai (aka Kobodaishi) is located in the northeastern part of Wakayama prefecture, approximately a two hour train ride from Namba station (one of the busiest districts in Osaka!) by Nankai Railway. Nankai Railway offers “KOYASAN World Heritage Tickets” at JPY2,860 which is valid for 2 days.
There are plenty of Shukubo in Mt Koya, but I recommend considering Ekoin. Ekoin is just few minutes away from one of the must-see places; Okunoin (mausoleum of Kobodaishi), and all guest rooms are traditional Japanese style with shared bathroom facilities. (Please note that they only have traditional baths which means one large bathtub to soak and separate washing area near the bathtub.) Buddist vegetarian dishes are served twice a day; breakfast and dinner in your room. Meals are simple yet enjoyable both in taste and visually.
EKOIN OFFERS THESE VARIOUS KINDS OF EXPERIENCES FOR STAYING GUESTS AS FOLLOWS:
AJIKAN MEDITATION SESSION from 4:30pm – Ajikan meditation is Japanese Esoteric Buddism method of meditation. Advance booking is required.
BUDDHIST SUTRA WRITING – Advance booking is required. You can practice in your room whenever you want.
NIGHT CEMETERY TOUR IN ENGLISH BY A MONK – Availability can only be confirmed on the day. Highly recommended tour if it’s available. I took the Japanese tour, and it was truly informative and inspiring. The cemetary looked more mysterious than during daytime.The monk who guided us was knowledgeable and always willing to answer our questions!
MORNING SERVICE from 7am
GOMA FIRE RITUAL after morning service – This is for the benefit of individuals and the state or all sentient beings in general. A monk burns wooden sticks on which peoples concerns and desires are written during the ceremony. You can also purchase your own wooden stick to be burnt.
Prior to my trip was a time I was deeply worried about myself, and was looking for something to overcome the situation. Staying in Mt Koya was truly a break-through. It was as if I got power from the place, and I got surprising happy news, which was just like a miracle, on the way back home from Mt Koya.
By We Are Travel Girls Contributor Sanae Tanaka
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