[Koya-san] Shojoshin-in Temple in Japan

 Shukubo in Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

About one month prior to the big trip to Japan; I made a reservation to experience a temple lodging stay for one night. The reservation for two people was made online on the official website of the Koyasan Tourist Association and Shukubo. I am not used to the Japanese-style toilets so I opted for the modern Japanese style (bath/toilet common style) arrangement, which was ¥11,000 a night (per person). So our one night stay for two people was ¥22,000 ($232.00 CAD).

This year, I wanted to spend part of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day away from the city hence the temple lodging. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Christmas and celebrate it every year. However, it was just nice to be able to do something different, and simple.

Tues, Dec 24, 2013 (Day #15)

A shukubo is an accommodation that allows you to stay in a Japanese temple or shrine for the night, and enables you to experience the culture. You are given your own personal room, and there are multiple washroom facilities throughout the temple. Additionally, many of the temples have Japanese hot springs (onsen) on their proprieties for their visitors to enjoy.

The Journey From Kobe, Japan

We had spent the first half of the day exploring Kobe and eating some really good AYCE BBQ in Kobe Harborland. We lost track of the time, and stayed in Kobe slightly longer than we had planned. So instead of leaving for Kobe Station before 1 pm; we ended up getting there around 2 pm. We quickly purchased our tickets to Shin-Imamiya Station from Kobe Station and off we went.

 The following is the JR train route that we took to get to Koya-san from Kobe; the entire duration of the trip was about 3 hours long.

 1) JR Kobe Station --> Osaka Station --> Namba Station (40 minute)
* Get on the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line at Kobe Station and arrive @ Osaka Station. Once you're at Osaka Station, you need to get on the Osaka City Subway-Midosuji Line to Namba Station. 

2) Namba Station --> Hashimoto Station (Wakayama) (50 minute)
* At Namba/Nankai-Namba Station, get on the Nankai-Koya Line to Hashimoto Station (Wakayama).

3) Hashimoto Station (Wakayama) --> Gokurakubashi Station (45 min)
* At Hashimoto Station, get on the Nankai-Koya Line and get off at Gokurakubashi Station. 
4) Gokurakubashi Station (cable car) --> Koyasan Station (5 min)
* There will be a cable car waiting for you at Gokurakubashi Station. Get on the cable car and get off at Koyasan Station.

 * Koyasan Station will be the last station, where you will then get on the city bus which should take you straight to your temple lodging. 

Temple Lodging

So after a very long journey to get to our temple; we finally arrived at Shojoshin-in Temple. This is the name of the shukubo that we stayed in for the night of Christmas Eve.

Shojin-ryori (Buddhist cuisine)

Dinner was promptly served at 5:30 pm, and we were a little late. However, our monk in the head office was very kind, and quickly checked us into our room. He showed us around for a few minutes, and asked us to follow him downstairs. We followed behind, and were escorted into a room where our dinners were warmly waiting for us.

After dinner, we went back to our room to unpack and relax. It was extremely dark outside by 7 pm and there was very little lighting on the street so we didn't want to go outside. I think Koyasan is livelier in the summertime as I have seen pictures of visitors exploring after dark. However, the temperature was around 0 degrees that day so no one was outside.

There were a few things provided in our room such as a tea kettle, cookies, souvenir chopsticks, tv set, and best of all .... FREE WIFI!! I was able to contact my family to tell them that I was doing great as I didn't get a chance to speak to them earlier. I didn't spend the entire night surfing the internet; rather I read a book that provided insightful information on Koyasan, Buddhism, and about the other great sights in the city while sipping hot green tea.

The traditional architecture does not allow for any central heating throughout the temple. Therefore, a heater was provided in every room. Be sure to bring something warm to wear if you're here in December as the hallway was freezing cold.

Staying at Shojoshin-in Temple for the night was an absolutely wonderful experience, and it was just so serene. I highly recommend Shojoshin-in Temple as the monks and staff were extremely friendly and polite, and the room was rather spacious for its means.


Breakfast was served promptly at 7 am in the same room that we had dinner. Like the dinner that we had the previous night; the breakfast was all vegetarian and nicely presented. My personal favorites of the entire meal were the miso soup and beans; so tasty!

Exploring Shojoshin-in Temple

Shojoshin-in Temple is one of the oldest temples on Mount Koya (Koyasan). Its large structure looked absolutely magnificent, and there's a Japanese style garden in the backyard. 

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