Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011

Shunkoin Temple

Accommodation doesn't get much more Zen than this delightfully tranquil shukubo (temple lodging) in Shunkoin Temple, located within the Myoshin-ji temple complex in northwest Kyoto. The simple five rooms all come with modern comforts that include free Wi-Fi and access to a well-equipped shared kitchen. But the real draw is the calm and quiet and the chance to take part in Zen meditation under the guidance of Shunkoin's English-speaking vice abbot, the Rev. Kawakami. He runs several meditation sessions a day that can also be followed by a tour of the temple. All this at just ¥4,000 ($48) to ¥5,000 ($59) a night makes Shunkoin one of the best deals in town.

Insider Tip: Temple stays are becoming extremely popular, so book well ahead, especially in cherry blossom season (late March-early April) and autumn.

Room to Book: Not all the rooms are en suite. If you don't want to share a wash space and toilet, you'll need to request one of the two with a private bathroom.