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Japanese Life & Culture

How about a Templetel for Lodging in Japan?

By May 16, 2017 at 4:09 am
Koyasan (c) 123rf

Believe or not, many a foreign tourist turns to a Buddhist temple in preference to city hotels for lodging. Umm?

Yes, visit Koyasan Temple and find that out for yourself - the world heritage in the heart of Wakayama. The pilgrims' lodging called Shukubo or let's coin it a modern name Templetel, is attracting more foreign tourists for a taste of an alien cultural atmosphere. Data say the templetel was lodged by three times more foreign tourists over the years 2011-13.

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The templetel boosted info offering English guide and various experience-yourself programs in the spirit of Omotenashi. A two-kilo orientation tour takes you to the legendary hall where the founder Kobo Dashi is said to have offer mediation, complete with an English-speaking monk providing on-the-spot information en route to the hall.

The tourists find it stimulating as it is not only unique but also well programmed. As many as several tens of foreign tourists join the tour on busy days.

The templetel is lodged over 60% by foreign tourists for 10,000-20,000 yen per stay with two meals. It is fully booked for six months ahead. A young monk, Nobuhiro Tamura, is proficient in English conversation and with two of his fellow monks even tends foreign tourists meditating Koyasan style.

Each chamber of the templetel is complete with how-to bulletins in English on routine manners, dressing in Kimono plus a comprehensive data on the history of Koyasan. In earlier days when such data were short, not a few tourists would step in and walk on the tatami with their shoes on, etc. - but not anymore.

The 52 chambers of the Shukubo were lodged by 19,000 in 2013 and 56,00 in 2016, respectively, mostly by foreign tourists. 

An Australian, Allison Weber (54), has lodged here several times so far and wants to come back another time, saying:

"Koyasan offers tranquility and rare experiences ". (Nathan Shiga) 

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