Rengejo-in is a charming traditional Buddhist Temple located in the misty forest of Mount Koya. When visiting Mt. Koya, part of the experience is to stay in a Buddhist Temple with Monks, participate in their meditation and prayers, and try “shojin ryori” (Buddhist Monk vegetarian meals).
Evening Meditation and Dinner
An important part of staying at Rengejo-in is that the curfew to arrive is at 17:30. At this time, guests are called for an evening meditation inside a room full of candles and incense for around 45 minutes. After meditation, everyone is taken to the dining room where the individual tables are ready with the “shojin ryori” meal. One of the unusual ingredients served for dinner is Koya tofu, a preserved tofu famous in the region.
After dinner, everyone is free to go to their room, and some go to the baths located in the temple. Joining the bath was one of the most interesting parts of the evening as it was full with friendly obasans (Japanese old ladies) that were happy to engage in interesting conversation with foreigners.
The next day, guests must join the morning prayer at 6:00 am for about an hour. After the prayer, people proceed to have breakfast which is served in the same room as dinner, then continue to get ready for check-out which is at 9:00 AM.
Please note that getting to the temple will take around 4-5 hours departing from Osaka. From Osaka you must take a train to Shinimamiya Station, then transfer line for Hashimoto Station, then transfer for Gokurakubashi Station, where you will then hop on a cable car that will take you to Koyasan Station. Finally, you need to take a bus that will drop you at the entrance of the temple (first stop). Be sure to tell the driver that you want to go Rendejo-in so he lets you know when its time to get off.
- Address: 700 Koyasan, Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama-ken
- Tel: 0736-56-2233
- Hours: Check in 15:00, Check out 9:00.
- Closest Station: Koyasan
- Price: 10,000 – 15,000 JPY (Only cash)