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Travel Staying at a temple (shukubo)

nice gaijin

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We tried to do shukubo at Eiheiji but they were booked out a month in advance, so we had to just visit as regular old tourists. If you want to stay at such a famous temple, plan early and book 2-3 months in advance, especially if you want to go during a busy time.

There are a LOT of temples, and many of them offer shukubo, so you may still be able to have the experience if you shop around. It's important to remember that you're staying at a temple and not a hotel. Adjust your expectations accordingly or you may be on the business end of some serious clapback!

 
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thomas

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That Twitter thread was uncomfortable reading. I would have assumed that only travellers with a certain mindset that includes respect for and a certain interest in the religion would consider staying at a temple, not your usual Tripadvisor crowd.

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Would it be a good idea to compile a list of temples that offer shukubo (apart from those which are already inundated by tourists)?
 

nice gaijin

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yes, that particular monk was forced to apologize afterwards, reminding people that even monks get impatient. I think it's perfect though, and if he's scolding people in consciousness, that in of itself can be a learning experience for them. Most people refuse the lesson though and continue to grasp at themselves, it just shows that some people aren't ready for temple stays (and maybe there ought to be a little screening done).
 
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nice gaijin

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Would it be a good idea to compile a list of temples that offer shukubo (apart from those which are already inundated by tourists)?
I think that would be great. A cursory search shows:


Shukubo.net is focused on lodging on Koyasan (which makes sense that it would be pretty well organized as they have so many temples on top of one mountain.



This looks like it started to compile this list and seems to have been abandoned as of 2014 (but still is among the top google results)



General articles or write-ups about shukubo or specific experiences... some sites have booking search functionality



There are a few sites set up by individual temples to manage their own shukubo offerings, similar to Eiheiji



Tripadvisor lets you select "Temple Stay" under the "Style" filter. Booking.com seems to treat them like hotels, which is part of the expectation problem in my opinion.



Veltra (First I've heard of them) also offers this filter under "cultural experiences"



This is perhaps the best standalone site focused on Shukubo I've found, but it seems to be only in Japanese. For me, the map function is important, and according to this article it plans to expand to cover over 1000 temples in the next few years.
 
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thomas

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Thanks, @nice gaijin! Obviously, there are tons of articles out there, however, what I couldn't find was a comprehensive list of temples broken down by region or prefecture.

Duly noted for the next rainy day ... ✍ :)
 

KyushuWoozy

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I stayed at a 440 year old temple here in Kyushu last weekend. It's well known for the quirky ceiling paintings (yes, that's a Sumo wrestler up there). Luckily I wasn't in the drafty old temple but the lodge next door with all mod cons. Best thing was the katana sword in my room. I could finally release my inner Samurai.

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Jack Hall

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On our last trip to Japan, my girlfriend and I stayed in one temple from Mount Koya. It was a great idea, as we experienced the traditional, spiritual and, humble life of the Buddhist monks for a night. We booked it one month in advance through Japanese Guest Houses, as it seemed to be pretty crowded. This experience is truly recommended!
 
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