This is the first temple I spent a night in a temple, so I cannot compare it to anything else, but I will compare it to a ryokan.
I arrived at 2pm, check in was at 3pm, so I left my baggage on the corridor. The monk who greeted me spoke ok English. He told me to be there before 4.30pm. So I did. Upon arriving, I left my shoes in the storage shelfs and registered in the "reception". A young monk brought me a pair of sleepers, took my bag and led me to my room. The room was like a ryokan room, with an electric heater, so it was at a great temperature. The monk said that dinner would be arriving soon and left. A few minutes later he came back with some tea and a japanese sweet. 20 minutes later he arrived with 4 trays of food!! I had asked for the full dinner, and indeed it was enormous. He laid everything on the floor of my room by the entrance (not the sleeping area) and left. The food was all vegetarian, but had I not known, I would had sweared there was fish in there! Very tasty also. The temperature outside my room was freezing, walking with the sleepers made things worse. Besides the sleepers were smaller than my size, and half my foot was out! I did not manage to find larger sleepers, and I don't really have big feet. I took a stroll around the temple, taking some photos. The wooden floors would creak but not too much. The thin paper walls made it easy to listen to anyone inside the rooms. There were both japanese and european style toilets, both of which lead to a big drain underneath. So while seating, you could hear the results of your "neighbors" efforts!!! No real problem there, except the cold. It was cold. And there was no hanger in the restroom to hang your clothes. Plus, the restrooms were mixed gender. Very unpleasant experience. Later that evening I had a bath in the japanese style bath area, in which I met some fine people who could speak english, which made my experience much more enjoyable (thanks Jimmy!). Just before closing time (9 pm) the young monks of the temple came to have their bath. I then went to bed, which was quite comfortable, considering it's only a think mattress on the floor. The duvet was very warm, so no issues with cold. I woke up at 5pm to get ready for the 6pm ceremony. The baths are closed in the morning so washing your head and face in freezing temperatures is not everyone's dream, but bearable. We then entered the ceremony area. The actual ceremony is very mystical. Candles everywhere, dim lights, scented candles and chanting. It reminded me of Eastern Orthodox chapels. We were sitting and watching the ceremony, but the walls had cracks from which cold stream would enter, freezing our backs and feet. The monks had brought in two gas heaters, but unless you were in front of them, they were redundant. We were lucky to watch the fire ceremony and to take part in it, but making offerings to the deity of the temple. The ceremony lasted 1 1/2 hours, after which a head monk explained a few things about it to us, both in Japanese and in English. We then proceeded to the breakfast area, where we all had a nice breakfast and were able to chat. Check out time was 9pm, so right after breakfast we packed up and left.
I would say that I wanted to feel more involved, but it was too "conventional" for me. I was expecting more of the ceremony, and maybe more interaction with the monks. But it was like we were not there, the monks were too busy or something, because they would always rush from one place to another. It was like a traditional ryokan, with a hint of a temple.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.