Spend the night in the ancient temple of  Zenpoji where the divine dragon serpents of Naga are believed to reside and watch over the seas. Zenpoji Temple was originally constructed in 938 by fishermen from across Japan and continues to be visited by thousands of fishermen each year to wish for safe and bountiful harvests of the oceans.

This opulent and beautiful temple offers guests the chance to experience an overnight temple-stay where guests will take part in Zen meditation, enjoy traditional shojin ryori cuisine, and also engage in an early-morning ceremony alongside the other monks of the temple.

This experience will start with a 4 pm check-in at Zenpoji Temple where your guide will meet you and introduce you to the monks who will be leading your experience. After checking into your rooms, you will be given a tour of the many halls of Zenpoji and learn about the temple’s deep history as well as Soto Zen, the largest of the three sects of Buddhism in Japan.

Following this tour, you will take part in a short session of Zen meditation in the very room that the monks actually train in.  This spiritual training is not an intense experience, rather it encourages practitioners to open their minds and learn to accept the world around them. The goal of the meditation is to guide one’s heart and mind towards a state of lightness, unburdened by the weight of our daily lives. Here surrounded by the pristine nature of Yamagata, the stress of your daily life is left behind and the world becomes your guide.

Following this session, you will take a short break before enjoying shojin ryori, the traditional vegetarian cuisine of the monks of Zenpoji for dinner.   Prior to and during this meal, we will learn about the meticulous rules of the ingredients, preparation, and dining etiquette of this spiritual cuisine and how it is a central part of the training and discipline of these monks.

The following morning you will take part in a ceremony with all the monks of Zenpoji Temple in order to better understand what it truly means to be a monk of Zenpoji. Before the experience, the guide will give you a briefing as to what to do and what to expect so that nothing will come as a shock.

Following this, you will enjoy a delicious fresh breakfast before having another opportunity to take part in morning meditation together with the monks.

Please note that participants of this program do not need to be Buddhist themselves in order to take part. Rather, the purpose of this program is to provide an educational experience as to what the life of a Buddhist monk looks like as well as to experience Zen meditation for yourself.

LOCATION Zenpoji Temple 
Event Date(s) Year Round
Activity Time Check in 4:00pm
Activity Length 2 Days
Price 30,000 yen/person (minimum 2 people)

Please note that you will need a rental car or taxi from Tsuruoka to reach this location.
A local bus line does operate in this area.

Tour Reviews

There are no reviews yet.

Leave a Review