Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging: Review of our Stay in Koyasan (Kōya-san) | Japan
Our stay at Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging Koyasan Japan. One of our highlights and on top of our bucket list for our Japan Travels was without any doubt our two-nights stay at a Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Mount Koya in the South of Osaka. Already the way up to the 800 meters high mountain valley with a cable car from Gokurakubashi was stunning. But the 120 temples, the graveyards and temple lodgings around the mountain range of Koyasan (modifying words: Mount Kõya or Kongōbu-ji), were breathtakingly beautiful and spiritual.
Don’t miss the chance during a trip into the Wakayama Mountains to visit Japanese Buddhist center Koyasan (Kōya-san) and be brave enough to sleep on the ground on a rice mat, get up at 6 in the morning by the singing of Buddhist monks and taste the tofu and vegetable breakfast and dinner freshly self-made by the monks and monks in training at Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging Koyasan. The calm nature surroundings and the moments of peace are worth every exertion. Enjoy our review of our stay at the Kumagaiji Buddhist monastery in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.
How to check-in in a Buddhist Temple Lodge
First of all, before you start traveling to Japan, you have to learn “Hello” in Japanese. Konnichiwa is the most common formula to say hi. Therefore, fold your hands together, hold them in front of your chest and take a bow to your opposite. We entered the lodge to our left. The monks try everything to understand English but prepare yourself for some funny moments behind every corner. A common mistake of tourists is to forget about to taking off their shoes and swap inside the building to “inside shoes”. If you wanna take a walk in the temples Garden, don’t forget to swap back to your “outside shoes”. The same swap is necessary for the toilet shoes, that are waiting in front every toilet (It feels kind of disgusting to that, but that is Japan. Our Tip: don’t forget to wear socks!). Don’t worry if you forgot about it for a second, no monk will be mad at you but will kindly ask you to take your wrong pairs of shoes off. Just be respectful and do it out of yourself.
A Japanese Room with a Garden view
The rooms are spacious and equipped with a table, seat pads, outlets and a safe. Every guest gets a clean Japanese Kimono for free usage during the stay. After we entered our room, one of the monks brought fresh made green tea for us and showed us the instructions of the lodging in English. One thing to keep in mind: the walls are made of paper. Thus, lower your voice and be respectful to the other guests and the hosts. For your Info: during the day, the bed stuff is stored in one of the wall closets while you can sit at the low table on your seat pads. In the evening, two monks in training will come and prepare your bed. Feel free to watch them or take a bath in the meanwhile. The dinner was served very early, just because the day ends and starts very early in Koyasan. Delicious Tofu meals with unknown vegetables and herbs combined with fresh rice and tea. Itadakimasu! (enjoy your meal)
Using a Japanese Bath Room at Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging Koyasan
But before we went to bed, we used the opportunity for a private bath in the Japanese bathroom. Traditionally, the bathrooms are separated by gender. We first entered a small changing room with baskets to store our clothes. The bathroom itself is separated into two parts: the front area is made to soap yourself and to clean everything intensively. Therefore, Japanese people use a kind of stool in front of a vanity basin. After removing the soap and foam completely (that is a must do!), you are allowed to plunge into the hot water. Wonderful. Since we were alone, it was time for a selfie!
A cold Autumn morning at Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging Koyasan
It was still dark outside when the first monks started to walk around in the building preparing everything for the morning and fire ceremony. You can skip it if it is too early for you of course, but we can only recommend to attending a Buddhist morning ceremony at least once. A magical experience when the monks and the monks in training start to sing while playing instruments, praying, and meditating. For the fire ceremony after the morning ceremony, guests are invited to hand in papers with written names for people they would like to pray for. Those paper rolls will be burned together with other Buddhist papers with loud gongs. With the end of the ceremony, the breakfast time has come with fresh hand-made rice, tofu, tea, and vegetables. Put this extraordinary experience on your Japan bucket list!
Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging Koyasan Japan
Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging
648-0211 Wakayama, Koyasan
Koyasan 501, Japan
Booking Website: Book Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple
Good to know:
Bad stuff, towels, and a private safe are part of your room. We would recommend to sleep like the Japanese people do on the ground to experience the real Japan. If you have problems with your back or simply need a bed to sleep, most of the Lodgings are offering normal beds with mattresses too. Enjoy your stay at Kumagaiji Buddhist Temple Lodging Koyasan Japan.