Temple Lodging in Japan

Chisyaku-in Kaikan
TEL 075-541-5363 including breakfast 6,500 yen
including 2 meals 8,000 yen
Access "JR Kyoto station" > (bus) > "Higashiyama-Shichijyo bus stop" > 4 minutes walk
Time Check-in 15:00 Check-out 09:00
Room max 160 people

Chisyaku-in is the head mountain of the Chisan school of the Shingon sect. It is famous for its national treasure sliding door pictures and its prestigious garden.

The building is made from reinforced concrete. Except for a priest at the reception desk, it does not give the shukubo impression one expects. However, in the morning service, about 50 to as many as 150 priests chanted the sutra loudly to the sound of Kei (a board like a percussion instrument), which produces a very refreshing atmosphere. It is bright inside the building from the morning sun, but the 30-cm long instrument called a "gokosho" used in esoteric Buddhism placed in front of the principle image, Dainichi Nyorai, made me feel like I was in a mysterious world. Following this, the Goma prayer takes place in the neighboring Myoo-den. With a fire blazing up, a large drum is hit and sutra are chanted. You will feel your body resonate with the sound.

After the service, you will be taken to a tour of the national treasure sliding screen pictures and Meisho garden. You are able to hear the descriptions of the garden created with the images of Mount Lushan and the Yangzi River (best seen when the azaleas are in season, from the end of May to the end of June) as well as the national treasure paintings created by Tohaku Hasegawa and his disciples.

The guestroom was equipped with a TV set and air conditioning. There is no key for the room and a coin locker is provided instead. A yukata robe, a towel and a toothbrush are provided. When I stayed there, the meals were not shojin vegetarian cuisine, but the tofu with salt was delicious. The other dishes included sesame tofu, yuba (tofu skin), raw fish and cooked vegetables. The amount of food was rather small (for a man in his 20s), but I was able to ask for another bowl of rice, which was nice. Although I was traveling alone, they welcomed me.


Chisyaku-in, Yogen-in, Sanzyusangenndo, Toyokuni-jinzya, Hoko-ji

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