Modern Japanese culture is riddled with things and aspects with roots and foundations that date back centuries and longer. Literature, entertainment, festivals, sports, education, celebrations and other traditions that are common occurrence in the Land of the Rising Sun have been around for generations upon generations. One of the more culturally ingrained aspects for Japanese culture is the nation’s long and intertwined history with their Buddhist beliefs and Shinto teachings, dating back thousands of years.
Next to Japan’s flourishing and highly diverse pockets of nature, a tourist is likely to notice that temples and shrines are a close second in the diversity of sights to see or experience that Japan has to offer its guests. Many have been simply kept for historical and cultural purposes instead of actual use, however, there are still quite a few temples that still serve the same purpose today as they did decades and centuries ago and are still inhabited and maintained by orders of monks and priests.
Many of these temples are open to visitors, often because tourism signifies an important part of the funding that contributes to a temple’s upkeep, normally alongside donations by the general public.Therefore it is very much possible to visit one of the numerous temples and spend an entire day and night there to experience the lifestyle of the monks and priests in its fullest.
This can be a whole-day adventure for those with a vested interest in the old Japanese culture and history, as well as perhaps for those looking to spend a night in a rather unique way away from home.
The Ekoin Temple is one such place to experience. Located in Ryogoku, Tokyo, the temple is conveniently located for those visiting the country as they are most likely to stay in Tokyo, or close to the capital, regardless. The Ekoin Temple is over 1200 years old and as a Buddhist temple, has much history to it.
Visitors can book a traditional buddhist room in the temple for a night – including traditional style tatami mats, rice paper doors and even access to the temple’s hot spring baths. Views in the temple include a beautiful garden to watch over while enjoying a vegetarian buddhist meal. Those wanting to emerge themselves fully for their stay are also encouraged to sign up to learn the arts of Ajikan Meditation as well as Buddhist Sutra writing in the comfort of one’s own room with qualified teachers.
Images from ekoin.jp