Shojosho-In Temple is known to be one of the oldest Buddhist Temples in Japan. It is located at the entrance of the Okunoin cemetery. The location is also ideal for night walks since it is a safe place to stay.
The temple has traditional Japanese rooms, which cost between 10,000 to 30,000 JPY per night, with public hot spring baths that can be enjoyed by men and women separately.
Meals at the Shojosho-In Temple feature vegetarian meals. In the morning, guests can anticipate a morning prayer or service, which is about forty minutes long.
Shojosho-In is also near neighboring temples like Eko-in, Jofukuin, and Kumagai-ji.
The temple can be reached by rides from Narita Airport and Kansai International Airport. Guests are required to practice safety and precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Is this place ryokan only or ryokan with an onsen?
Does this ryokan have private onsen (hot spring)?
Is there a communal shared public bath?
Price range (yen)
10,000 – 30,000
Total rating: 4.5
This nice temple is located near the entrance of the famous Okuno-in Cemetery at Koyasan. It has a small but nice garden. The temple is mainly used for accommodating pilgrims. I was just a vistor and doubt if it was open for guests in winter.
A spiritual retreat in a traditional temple
This is one of the many temples of Koya-san that welcome travelers (visitors, pilgrims...) visiting this hot spot of Japanese spirituality. The temple is beautiful, and the two nights with traditional breakfast and diner were at a very reasonable price. I chose the traditional Japanese room (small, with paper screen walls). The nights were freezing outside, but their are very good litle heaters in the sleeping rooms and dining rooms (also traditional). Meals (vegetarian), so-called Shojin-ryoshi were a very special experience, delicious, with many small dishes. I ate on the floor, Japanese traditional way. The wooden hot tub (shared, but I was alone) is very appreciated after a long day walk on the pilgrimage paths around Koya-san. I slept on the futon on the tatami, and despite the intense cold outside, the warmth under the blanket of the futon was comfy and a delight, I slept very well. I went the two mornings to the morning prayer at 6:30. This was an intense moment of meditation and introspection (although I am nothing like mystical or religious), full of mystery and awe. It is also a wonderful musical experience as the prayers are psalmed by the monk, with the gongs and cimbals. The last day, I went to the Goma prayer ceremony held by the monk in the new building of the temple. I really recommend this. Also, this is the closest temple to the Okuno-in, which is the "must visit" of Koya-san. Altogether, I had a wonderful experience in this very special place.
Lovely stay at Shojoshin-in temple
We stayed for one night at Shojoshin-in. We found the whole experience amazing and totally authentic. It's a huge temple. Rooms are traditional and spacious. We had a standard room with shared toilet and bathroom facilities. Everything was clean and we were provided with yakutas and slippers. Toiletries (toothbrushes, shower gel, shampoo) are all provided. Hot water is provided in the room together with green tea and a sweet on arrival. The food was amazing. All vegetarian and so tasty. We had our own private dining space downstairs which was lovely. The two people we saw working there who from what I could see, did everything from check in, provide information about timings if things, clean, make and serve food, were so friendly. Although limited English is spoken, it didn't really matter as you can get by. There were a handful of people staying at the same time as us but there were never any issues with using the facilities or bumping into people. The shower facilities and hot spring bath was only available in the evening from 4pm to 9pm. It was very cold throughout the temple but our room had a heater which was perfect and made our room really cosy. View from the room was amazing.
We were invited to the 6.30am morning prayer where we saw a Buddhist Monk chant prayers and perform the morning ceremony which I really enjoyed and we were able to speak to the monk and ask questions afterwards. We were also lucky enough to be able to stay for the fire ceremony which takes place at 1pm. Location of the temple is fantastic for the bus stop and Okuoin (the cemetary) - just a two minute walk to the entrance. We did a night walking tour and also went back the next morning to see it in the day and managed to catch a couple of ceremonies being conducted by Buddhist Monks.
The other big temple is Eko-in which is just across the road. This seemed to be a lot more busier with the number of guests (the night time walking tour starts here) and much more commercialised.
I would highly recommend staying at Shojoshin-in for a truly authentic experience.
Wonderful, peaceful, relaxing temple stay
We stayed in a 3rd floor room with a garden view, reserved through Japaneseguesthouses.com. the room was absolutely lovely. Despite us not living futon beds in general, the ones here were soft, and the blankets were very comfortable.
The view of the garden was serene. After arriving right at 3:00 (*highly recommended*) we enjoyed an hour of just sipping on tea and enjoying the space. The private and public baths open at 4:00, we only found time to see the private bath but it was very nice, worth checking in a few times if they're taken when you get there (baths open 4-9pm). Dinner was taken privately and was exquisite, delicious and beautifully prepared, just as much a feast for the eyes as the taste buds.
As mentioned in previous reviews, the proximity to Okunoin cemetery is a big bonus, we spent ~3 hours just wandering through the cemetery and mausoleum after dark.
In the morning, the prayer ceremony was very moving, it was wonderfuk having a full hour to just relax into the rhythmic and quite musical chanting and ringing of bells. I was stunned that after the ceremony, the monk allowed us to explore the worship space and take photos.
I'll take a moment to address what I see as a sad trend among some other reviews from folks who it seems expect some sort of resort-style treatment here: We found the monks to be very kind and gracious throughout our stay. This is not like being on a tour group, one should realize that this is the monks opening up an ancient and sacred space to the public. I thought the level of access and service was exceedingly acceptable at this temple and would highly recommend staging here at anyone wanting an authentic and enlivining experience.
Back to basics
Our stay was very peaceful but you have to know what you sign up for. When you come from the crazy cities like Tokyo and Osaka, this is definitely the complete opposite. Our room was very spacious and you have to remember that the walls are made from paper ;-). The vegi meal and breakfast weren’t really my cup of tea but they have some great alternatives in the little town. I prefer the busy cities though.