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“A beautiful setting but cold, unwelcoming and a total rip-off!”
Review of Rengejoin Temple

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Rengejoin Temple
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
158 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“A beautiful setting but cold, unwelcoming and a total rip-off!”
Reviewed 26 May 2013

We stayed in Rengejo-in temple for one night in May.The setting is beautiful and tranquil and you do get to stay in a temple, but the good news end here. Our room was tiny, windowless and bare; the futon is very thin, the linen stained, the room lacked any creature-comforts (no towels, shower hours restricted to 18:30 - 21:30). We paid a small fortune for the most basic conditions. The meals were poor (both in quality and quantity) and were not satisfying; hardly the gourmet vegetarian food promised. What grated most was the inhospitability and indifference of the monks; this is clearly a business and the guests are treated as a burden to bare without a smile.This is a rip-off thinly disguised as a religious experience.
I strongly recommend that you stay elsewhere!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Hila5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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86 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
89 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 April 2013

Four stars for the experience of staying in a temple, meditating and chanting with the monks, and eating delicious vegetarian food. Koyasan itself is a lovely area well worth a day of exploring. What the Rengejo-in Temple lacks in creature comforts it makes up for in hospitality and simple beauty.

Pros: already stated above--the opportunity to meditate and feel the energy of this holy place, the food and the experience of sleeping in a temple is worth a night. Onsen felt great with the cold weather, but don't be shy! It's all part of the experience!

Cons: it's cold. We had a kerosene heater in our room which smelled terrible, so we had to turn the heat off so we weren't breathing the fumes. We slept with our feet under the table which had electric heat so it was do-able, but it was definitely not the best night's rest. Futon was thin; pillow was a bag of beans. Walls were quite literally paper thin, so you will be living a monastic life while here!

That said, I would stay again, but I would go in warmer weather knowing I apt not to get a great night's sleep.

Room Tip: Ask for privacy.
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank BruyereinHK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2013

This is very expensive, at close to $100 per person for very basic comfort: very thin futons (this was essentially sleeping on the floor), bad pillows, cold room, shared bathroom.
The temple itself is beautiful, but is very large - over 80+ guests when we stayed, including 2 tour buses, which ruined the experience. I'd recommend looking for a temple with less capacity to have a more authentic experience.
The worse part was the cold reception we received from the monks - this was only about business: "please pay now". Not a word to welcome us or ask anything about us. Quite shocking especially by Japanese standards - Japanese hospitality is by far the best in the world.
Last but not least: we initially booked for 3 but one of us had to cancel due to a family emergency. A monk randomly showed up in our room at 8:30PM while we were already in "bed" to ask us to pay 50% of the cost, per the policy. To be fair, this was part of the policy, but this should have been mentioned upon checking. How rude it is to enter our room.
Again, this is a business, not a temple. Stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
5 Thank EdmondDantes_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pickens, South Carolina
Level Contributor
72 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2013

Spending time in Koyasan is like being transported back into feudal Japan. The Rengejo-in Temple was a perfect place to stay while there. The priest and his mother speak very good Englsh and were so hospitable. All the rooms are Japanese style ( tatami mats with futons, a kotatsu table with heater under it, shoji screens for walls) and a bit cold but they give you tabi socks, a cotton yukata and a warm wool kimono to wear over it while you are there. The Zen garden was just outside our room. We were welcomed to their evening worship service and the next morning we attended again and meditated as the monks chanted sutras. Then the priest did his sermon in English for us. We loved the vegan food even though we are not vegan. Everything at dinner and breakfast was delicious. I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Japan, even if it is off the beaten track and away from the bright lights of the cities.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Linda H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
196 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 November 2011

This monastery inn is excellent. Tatami rooms (no shoes please) and beautiful spaces with great care taken over every detail. Although it gets cold at night, you have you own heater, electric quilt and tea. The highlights include an evening meditation, morning chanting, and outstanding Buddhist vegan food for dinner and breakfast. Not only was it very peaceful and life was at a slower pace but the way we were treated by the staff, monks and fellow travellers means that we will return here.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Buckster21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mumbai
Level Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 November 2011

Rooms..traditional Japanese low seating, rooms with wooden floors and doors and partitions.
Ambience..tranquil, do not miss the meditation ceremony, maintain absolute silence and contemplate at the mini Zen gardens, essentially self help
Food..exquisite dining ceremonies with traditional Japanese temple cuisine.
Location..bus stop for buses headed to and from koyasan station and various locations in Koyasan right outside the temple. Buses arrive and depart in Japanese precision.
Pretty expensive but i would choose this place over any 5 star in the world

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank drarunnayak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2011

We arrived in Koya-san around 6pm/7pm and so decided to stay 2 nights, which I think was just a little bit longer that needed, but WHAT AN EXPERIENCE.

It isn't cheap (£100 for a room with separate toilet and food is costly), but the room and grounds make up for it. Being Veggie was HARD in Tokyo and Osaka, but Koya is your oyster (or not, if you are veggie...). The food was so beautiful and enjoyable.

The temple compound is awe-inspiring and should humble anyone. We really loved the first room and the grounds. You are welcome to participate in the ceremonies - which I really liked (as a part timer) but my partner was not as keen on. Staying silent for a full hours is perhaps not his strongest ability.

But the comic element came on the 2nd day, when a very loud Russian family checked in next to us. The rooms are paper thin (literally) so it was obvious that we were not going to get any peace and quiet that night. We complained to the reception, and embarrassingly the family was moved to a quieter area. I should feel bad, but the whole point of this experience is about channeling one's thoughts through meditation, which requires peace and quiet.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rengejoin Temple

Property: Rengejoin Temple
Address: 700Koyasan, Ito-gun, Koya-cho 648-0211, Wakayama Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Wakayama Prefecture > Ito-gun > Koya-cho
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 45 Speciality lodging in Koya-cho
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 48
Also Known As:
Rengejoin Temple Hotel Koya-Cho

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