News from JNTO

Experience Zen in Autumn

As the heat of the summer passes and autumn colors the days before winter sets in, an experience in a Zen temple cannot be overrated. The gardens alone provide an atmosphere of tranquility. Think of it as the calming touch we all need before the lunacy of year-end excitement. Listed below are three Zen temples in Kyoto and one in Tokyo. Many other temples, listed ones aside, also provide English instruction for those who would like to add a layer of Zen experience to their visit!

Daihonzan Eihei-ji Temple (Fukui)

Opened in 1244, Eihei-ji Temple is the head temple of the Soto school, one of the Zen schools. This temple offers lengthier zen practice programs (two days/one night, or four days/three nights) along with sitting meditation and sutra copying. Schedules include meal times, sleeping and waking times and bath times during which the temple protocol is to be respectfully followed. Tours of the temple and temple grounds enhance the experience.

For more information, please visit here.

Enko-ji Temple (Kyoto)

This temple has been noted for its beautiful garden especially in fall when leaves change color. Those well-versed in Zen as well as newcomers, groups as well as individuals, all are welcome to join Zen meditation every Sunday starting at 6:00 AM. (appointment required by 5:00 PM on Saturday).

For more information, please visit here.


 

Shunkoin Temple (Kyoto)

The main garden of this temple is called the “Garden of Boulders”. The theme of this garden is Ise-jingu Shrine in Mie prefecture, which is the head shrine of all Shinto shrines in Japan. Scheduled meditation classes and tours are provided. Classes in English on a variety of Zen related topics are also available. Check the website for schedules and appointments.

For more information, please visit here.

Souun-in (Tokyo)

A lesser known temple nestled among cedar and bamboo, this Rinzai temple is a branch of Kyoto's Daitoku-ji temple. Visitors are welcome every second weekend of the month (Saturday, Sunday and Monday). English instruction available. 

Information is provided as a courtesy to users of this website. Though the JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgement and at their own risk. Neither the JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.

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