Did you know that Japan’s shrines and temples welcome regular tourists to stay for a night or more? Experience authentic Zen meditation, the traditional, vegetarian cuisine called shojin ryori, and explore a fascinating world so different from anything you know.

Shrine and temple stays near Tokyo offer an experience that even a lot of Japanese people don’t get to have that easily! Let’s get a unique glimpse into the realm of shrines, temples, and traditions.

What is “Shukubo” Temple Lodging?

Taiyoji, a temple sitting at 800 meters high in the middle of the mountains

Called “shukubo” in Japanese, temple lodging is a term for places offering both monks and general worshipers a place to stay.

This historic practice has carried over into these modern times and the majority of shukubo places welcome international tourists with open arms.

In some cases, you directly stay at the shrine or temple while sometimes, the temple lodging is a separate building on the premises or in the direct neighborhood.

But why do a Tokyo temple stay? The charms of committing to this experience are innumerable, as you join the monks and priests in their practices, are instructed in meditation, prayer, and ascetic practices.

“Takigyo” is the famous practice of sitting or standing under a waterfall, “shakyo” is Sutra copying and a one-of-a-kind calligraphy training, “zazen” is deep, quiet Zen meditation – these are only the most well-known examples of experiences that await.

Another major highlight of staying at a shrine or temple is “shojin ryori,” the traditional, vegetable Buddhist cuisine. Abiding by religious standards, such food is prepared without any meat, including fish.

As every shrine or temple is different, so differs the lodging itself, including amenities, furniture, and so on. It is important to check such details before you book, either by inquiring directly or on the lodging’s website. Reservations can be made directly or via booking websites.

Shukubo is a rich, fascinating, and rather intense experience, so prior research is important. Without further ado, let’s look at some of the most amazing temple and shrine lodgings near Tokyo!

1. Shukubo Komadori Sanso: A Stunning Mountain Lodge near Mitake Shrine (Ome City, Tokyo)

The entrance gate and its vermilion-colored highlights is a famous landmark

Mount Mitake is one of the most famous, scenic mountains in the Tokyo area. It takes about 2 hours to get there from Shinjuku by train, bus, and finally cable car, making it a popular day-trip destination for Tokyoites and tourists.

Musashi Mitake Shrine sits at the top of this stunning, lush mountain, and is said to date back to 91 B.C. From Japan’s Middle Ages onward, the shrine became a famous site for mountai…

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