Spend one night at the shukubo temple accommodation; a fantastic way to understand the simple and traditional way of life of the Buddhist monks of Japan.
At first glance, the Buddhist temple lodgings on Mount Koya are very similar to any ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). You will stay in a private room with fusuma sliding doors and sleep on futon mattresses on tatami floors. Some rooms may have en-suite bathrooms, though at best shukubo, communal bathrooms (separated into male and female facilities) are common. Heaters are provided in winter, which are essential for mountaintop stays.
It’s at meals that things get a little different. The included breakfast and dinner are shojin ryori, it is strict vegetarian Buddhist cuisine. The ingredients are fresh and simply dressed, making the most of the natural and subtle flavors of the tofu and vegetables. In the early hours of the morning, guests are invited to join the monks in a morning meditation service, which usually lasts around 30 minutes. You can also see the cultural treasures, corridors and gardens of the temple.