Self-guided Kyoto Temple Stay Tour (2d/1n)
Have you always wanted to do an authentic temple stay? Enryaku-ji near Kyoto is a great place to do so, and we developed a self-guided Temple Stay Tour to help you do just that!
Kyoto Temple Stay Tour Introduction
If you have multiple days in Kyoto, this nature-filled temple stay tour could be a great addition to your stay. Koyasan became incredibly popular with foreign tourists during the last few years because of its historical environment and temple stay option, but the large stream of tourists also made the experience feel less authentic for some. Besides, Koyasan is a 3-hour trip away from Kyoto, so we wanted to introduce an alternative to Koyasan closer to Kyoto.
Located on top of 848 meters high Hiei-zan and founded in 788, the complex surrounding the Enryaku-ji temple offers visitors an amazing chance to experience a temple stay, incredible vistas, and multiple Buddhist experiences. The area has a distinct remote atmosphere about it, and it is easy to feel like you are far away from the city and its hustle and bustle. It is a great place to learn more about Buddhism and dive head-first into Buddhist experiences like zazen meditation and shakyo (writing sutras using ink and an old-fashioned pencil).
You will first take 3 trains to get to the cable car station, and then take the cable car to the top of Mt. Hiei. There are 3 areas to visit, and the first day is best spent visiting the Todo area, which is the main area of the temple. If you want to experience zazen meditation or shakyo for a nominal fee, please tell us upon booking so we can make a reservation for you. Dinner will be vegan shojin ryori, which is traditional Buddhist food. You will spend the night in a Japanese room with a communal bath in a temple stay.
The next day you can enjoy hiking in the other two areas, after which you will take a shuttle bus to a different cable car station than where you arrived. You will then take the cable car to Sakamoto station through a very scenic route, after which you will walk through a beautiful traditional Japanese area to the JR station, from where you will take the train back to Kyoto.
Kyoto Temple Stay Tour Information
Tour Date: set your own date, this tour is self-guided. The best time to go is mid-November for the autumn colors or May for the comfortable climate and green trees. It is possible to go between March and early December, but we advise you to avoid the period from July until mid-September because of the heat.
Tour Duration: 2 days/1 night
Leaving from: Kyoto station, Kyoto
Tour Price: Please contact us for prices
Enryaku-ji Todo area
View from Enryaku-ji
Kyoto Temple Stay Itinerary
Morning: your train and cable car tickets and temple entrance tickets will be waiting for you at your Kyoto hotel’s reception. You will take 3 trains from Nanajo station (near Kyoto station) to the cable car station and take the cable car to the top of Mt. Hiei. We recommend you to bring a bento with you for lunch as there are not many restaurants on the mountain.
Afternoon: you can eat your bento after arriving at the Todo area. You will have the afternoon to discover this impressive main area of the Enryaku-ji temple. If you want to do zazen meditation or/and shakyo, you will do this around 2.30 pm. Each experience takes around 30 minutes.
Evening: your vegan shojin ryori dinner is served at your accommodation around 6 pm. You will go to sleep early in your temple accommodation, as you have to wake up early the next day if you want to attend the morning prayer. Your accommodation will be very Japanese style, with futons on tatami mats and a communal onsen-style bathing area.
Morning: you can attend the morning prayer (optional) around 6 am, this is a very special experience that is a highlight for many visitors. A traditional Japanese breakfast will be served in your accommodation. You can spend the rest of the morning hiking in the Daito and Yokawa areas, which is a total of around 10 kilometers one-way. You don’t have to walk the same way back, as you can take the shuttle bus from the Yokawa area to the station of the cable car that will take you to Sakamoto station. You can have a simple lunch in the Todo area near the cable car station before you take the cable car.
Afternoon: Enjoy the view during the ride to Sakamoto station, as it is one of the most scenic cable car rides that you can take in Japan with Lake Biwa in the background. The walk from the cable car station to the JR station is very enjoyable, as the Sakamoto area is home to many small temples, green scenery, and a bamboo forest. You will take the train back to Kyoto from the JR station.
・All train and cable car fees
・Entrance fees of temple
・1 night temple stay in a Shukubo
・Vegan dinner and breakfast at the accommodation
・Zazen meditation (optional)
46 days or more prior to arrival date in Japan: no penalty
45-31 days prior to arrival date in Japan: 10% of the tour fee
30-15 days prior to arrival date in Japan: 20% of the tour fee
14- 8 days prior to arrival date in Japan: 30% of the tour fee
7 – 3 days prior to arrival date in Japan: 50% of the tour fee
Less than 3 days prior to arrival date in Japan: 100% of the tour fee
Feedback From Clients (other tours)
Cornell – 2019 Autumn –
- Good experience!
Our guide in Kyoto knew a lot about history, culture, and the language and he really brought his stories to life while we walked around this beautiful old city. The program was well-planned and we were able to see a lot in a relatively short period of time thanks to the guide.
Lila P. – 2019 Winter –
- Interesting tour in Kyoto
The tour was very diverse with a great variation of sights, we never got bored and got to see a lot of things we would have not found on our own.
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