Stay at a Buddhist temple
1. Shukubo means an accommodation facility for guests staying overnight at a Buddhist temple. Since many visitors enjoy experiencing Kyoto culture, the popularity of staying at such temple lodgings is growing.
2. Some temples provide not only accommodation but also a rigorous sadhana (ascetic training) course for ordinary visitors. In most cases, however, you can stay at a shukubo like at a regular hostel. While the expense is fairly low, be aware that curfew and lights-out time are strictly observed, since this is a temple facility.
3. If possible, you are advised to wake up early and participate in the morning gongyo (devotional exercises) in the temple. Usually, all you do is to sit on the floor and listen to the monks chanting. But if you’re lucky, you may witness a rare and unforgettable performance you’ll never experience in any other place.
4. Shukubo facilities typically serve breakfast to guests — a traditional Buddhist shojin meal. This meatless cuisine, without raw ingredients, is made of vegetables only, cooked with the utmost care. Some shojin dishes are perfect imitations of meat or fish.
5. The Torin-in shukubo at Myoshin-ji temple is well-known for its delectable shojin cuisine. Vegetables grown by the priest are prepared for guests, and cooking classes are held for the public. Vegetarians throughout the world are strongly encouraged to take at least one of these classes.