Temple Lodging in Japan

Kumano-Hongu-Taisya Zuihoden
TEL 0735-42-0009 without meals 3,000 yen
Access "JR Shingu station" > (bus) > "Hongut-Taisya-mae bus stop"

This is a shrine registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the center of Kumano worship lasting from the Heian period (794 to 1185). As the old shrine building was washed away by a large flood in 1889, the present shrine is closer to the mountain. The precinct, where beautiful hinoki-thatched shrine buildings stand, is full of tranquility and mysteriousness as a shrine where one of the oldest forms of Japanese worship has been passed down to date.

Zuihoden, the shukubo, is located beneath the stone stairs leading up to the main sanctuary of the Kumano-hongu Taisha. I called up to the shukubo when I arrived at the Hongu and a Shinto priest came up to welcome me. I was guided to my room, and after I paid the accommodation fee, I was completely free for the rest of the time. I was on a plan without meals and there was no curfew. As the priest was not at the shukubo usually, it was like renting a private room. When I left, I simply packed my things and that was it. There are no particular farewell greetings, etc.

The bath time is from 18:00 to 22:00. It is a bath with a wild taste (but not outdoors) made of large rocks. Checkout is at 9:00. The room I stayed was 12 tatami mats in size and there was a yukata robe, an electric fan and a mirror stand. There was a small garden in front of the room, but there were no facilities to speak of.

From 7:00 in the morning, a ritual called Nikkui-sai takes place in front of the Hongu Shrine. When I was there, no benefits, such as being allowed inside the worship sanctuary, were given, but the morning air was especially fresh and the sound of the drums and Shinto prayers echoed in the mountain. It was an interesting ritual to see.

If you choose a plan without meals, you should think about food beforehand. There are not many restaurants in the neighborhood. There is a souvenir shop-cum-supermarket, but they only sell a small variety of bread. If you make a reservation, breakfast and dinner are served at the "Chinjuan" next to the shukubo. It is convenient to eat there. Also if you are traveling by car, a 15 to 30-minute drive will take you to a hot spring resort such as Kawayu Onsen, Watase Onsen and Yunomie Onsen. It may be a good idea to go to one of these and take a bath at night.

My general impression is that the place is more like a "casual accommodation facility without meals." Considering the fee, which is 3,000 yen, this is a very good facility to stay at.

Please confirm the latest information at the time of lodging.