Visitors to Koyasan can experience a unique form of temple lodging called a Shukubo.
Temples that provide lodging to guests are known as Shukubo. Originally, these were simple lodging for monks, however the number of these lodgings expanded greatly in the Edo period due to the increase in visits by pilgrims.
In 1832, there were 1,812 temples in Koyasan. Due to destruction by fires and the combining of small temples into larger ones, there are now 117 temples, of which 52 provide lodging.
Koyasan temples offer Shojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian meals) to overnight guests.
Koyasan Shukubo Association
1. Remove your clothes in the changing room (place your clothes/accessories in the basket)
＊You must bathe naked. Do not wear a bathing suit.
2. Enter the bathing room
3. Wash your body first
4. Pour warm water on yourself to rinse away soap
5. Relax in the bath
＊The towel is for washing yourself. Do not let it enter the bath.
＊Take care not to sit in the bath for too long as it could cause fainting.
6. Get out of the bath
＊Lightly dry yourself with the towel before leaving the bathing room, to avoid water dripping in the changing room.
7. Return to the changing room
8. Wipe your body with a dry towel
9. Put on your clothes
10. Go back to your room
＊After bathing, relax and ensure you are hydrated.
＊People with tattoos are generally not accepted in the baths. Please ask the facility.
＊Drinking alcohol and bathing is dangerous. After drinking alcohol, please wait a while before entering the bath.
If you leave your room to eat dinner, the futon will be laid while you are away, so please don’t be surprised.
Futons are mattresses and quilts that Japanese people traditionally use when they sleep. Futons are made of strong, tightly-woven cloth and cotton stuffing. The Japanese have traditionally spread sets of futons (mattresses and quilts) directly upon tatami mats when they sleep. A set of Japanese bedding includes a mattress called a shikibuton, a sheet, a quilt called a kakebuton, and a pillow. Japanese people first spread out shikibutons when they get ready to sleep at night. The shikibutons serve in the same manner as mattresses do for Western-style beds. After that, sheets are put on the shikibutons and kakebutons are put on top of the sheets. Then people get in between the sheet and the kakebuton and go to sleep.
People change their quilts and pillows when the seasons turn owing to the changes in temperature that come with the changes in seasons. People use the same mattresses throughout the year. They use thin quilts during the summer season, and thick ones during the chilly seasons. People also use blankets between their mattresses and quilts when it gets particularly cold. When it is too hot and sticky in the middle of summer, they cover themselves with thin sheets that are made of the same fabric that towels are. It is very effective to dry the bedding in the sun. This makes the bedding more comfortable to sleep in and also removes mites.
People only put the futons out when they sleep at night. In the daytime, when the futons are not in use, people fold the futons and store them in closets. This means that one room can be used as a bedroom, study, living room and so on at different times. Recently however, Western-style beds and bedding have become popular in Japan, and younger people now tend to use Western-style beds and bedding rather than Japanese futons. Conventionally used cotton stuffing is also being replaced by wool and feather stuffing.
Temple guests can enjoy one of Koyasan’s unique foods, Buddhist Vegetarian Cuisine (Shojin Ryori).
In Buddhism, the taking of any sentient life is wrong, so only vegetarian meals are eaten. The Shojin Ryori served in Koyasan originates in China, and has been adapted to Japanese tastes and local ingredients by monks over the centuries. In accordance with Buddhist teachings, Shojin Ryori is entirely vegan, and is based on the concepts of five flavors, five cooking methods, and five colors. A meal should include a grilled dish, a deep-fried dish, a pickled dish, a tofu dish and a soup dish.
Originally meals for monks, today this cuisine has developed into something more elaborate to be served to guests at temples. Lunch at shukubo temples is available as well, though reservations are required. Please call ahead to the Koyasan Shukubo Association between 8:30-11:00am to reserve a meal.
Goma-Dofu (Sesame Tofu)
This simple dish made of roasted and ground white sesame seeds boiled together with starch powdered arrowroot is one of the most popular ingredients in Shojin Ryori. It is a fragrant and nourishing dish with a silky texture.
Koyasan Guest House Kokuu is a guesthouse for travelers to Koyasan, hosting guests from any country in the world.