BLOGKyoto travel tips2019.07.31

Time to face yourself in the morning and evening of summer. Zen experience at a temple in Kyoto

ByAika Nishigaki

Zen experience for busy adults


The temple experience that has been a hot topic lately. It seems to be popular among foreign tourists because you can transcribe sutras, listen to preaching, and experience a part of the ascetic practices of monks. Among them, one of the training methods of the Zen sect is especially popular "Zazen". "I'm busy and busy every day... I don't have time to empty my head!" This is a perfect experience for adults. But the summer in Kyoto. It's so hot during the day that I don't feel like doing anything. This time, I visited 2 temples in Kyoto where you can experience Zazen meditation in the cool morning and evening that I would like to recommend to those people.



Zazen is one of the ascetic practices of Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. It is called "Zazen" because it is a Zen meditation. It originated in India, but it came down from China in Kamakura period. Shakyamuni is said to have attained enlightenment by practicing Zazen! The method is slightly different depending on the sect.

"Daiji-in Temple" where you can practice Zen meditation at night after work


My first experience of meditation makes me a little nervous to go alone. At that time, he found Daiji-in Temple, a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji Temple. It is a historical temple built in 13 (1585). We hold a Zazen meeting called "meditation in the night sky" at 18 o'clock and you can meditate at night. When I'm done working, I go with my coworkers.

Be greeted by the chief priest's smile


Go through the gate decorated in the Momoyama period and enter the temple. The person who gives instruction in mediation is the chief priest, Seizan Toda ([[PDEFINE ~ TFFS _ Aux2Finish]]). I was a little worried about the first meditation, and they greeted me with a gentle smile, and I was filled with a feeling of indescribable security.

I'll do it right away.



After receiving a brief explanation, I decided to try Zazen once. There is a unique way of sitting meditation, the kekkafuza (Idx = leaving) and hankazza (Fried tofu), but it is quite difficult for a beginner and we have a hard time. "It's important to be comfortable and stable. IT'S NOT HOW YOU STAND YOUR LEGS." Toda said. "The most important thing is to be quick about difficult things and to empty your mind." he says. Hands are called "Hokaijoin (OKAY!)". Make a circle with your right and left thumbs and place it under your navel. In a position where you can concentrate the most, you lower your eyes like Buddha, relax your shoulders and breathe slowly.

I was hit with "Kasaku" and felt new.




If you feel distracted or sleepy, take a warning. If you tap your back, you can concentrate on your mind. When you want to receive keisaku, Gassho is a sign. When you receive the keisaku, you must wrap your hands around your body, and don't forget to join your hands in prayer.

My head is emptying.




This "meditation in the night sky" is held in the hope of Mr. Toda, who wants to feel the calm of the night and to make time to relax at the end of the day. In a world full of information, time to be free from oneself, time to go to meditation together in the pure atmosphere of the temple. Comfortable silence envelops the surroundings and gradually empties the mind.

share the feelings of


The first meditation takes about 15 minutes. Take a break for a while. I'm really impressed that I can meditate on the veranda while looking at the garden with beautiful moss and pine trees! It's also nice to take a breather and share your feelings.

Relax your body with "Toda Gymnastics"!


One of the characteristics of the meditation experience at Daiji-in is the "Toda Gymnastics" designed by the chief priest, Mr. Toda! I will forget the moist and calm feeling that I have just had, and move my body with everyone. I feel my body gradually loosens and gets lighter when I lie down on tatami and slowly stretch my muscles in a position I don't usually do. I rarely go up to a room with tatami mats, let alone have a chance to grumble. Today, the soft texture of the tatami mats was more comfortable than the wooden flooring.

to meditate for the second time


After loosening the body, it is the second Zazen. As time passes from dusk to night, the candle flutters and it is fantastic. When the bell rings, meditation begins. I feel lighter than my first zazen. Is it because of "Toda Gymnastics"? The sound around me is getting further and further. It was so quiet that I could hear Toda and his friends breathing. After a while, I can hear Toda's sutra chanting. It was good that there was no sound at all, but I felt that the sutra echoing in the night of the scene increased my concentration.

finish everything and talk


The experience program is over after two sessions of zazen. It's a time for Toda and the participants to talk about various things while having tea and sweets. Today's impressions, what I usually feel, questions and worries. I don't have much time to spend in my daily life and talk with everyone without hesitation. It was such a wonderful time that I wanted to soak in the warm air all the time. Many parts are definitely lighter than before! I think I can do my best from tomorrow.


■ Daitoku-ji Temple Daiji-in Temple

4 -1 Murasakino Daitokuji-cho, Kita Ward, Kyoto City
■Zen experience
Once a month on Wednesday
18: 30 to 20:30
*For further information, call Nozomi Co., Ltd. (075-351-9915).

A Zen temple in Ichijo-ji Temple "Enko-ji Temple"


The meditation at night was very comfortable. Next time, I wanted to make the most of the cool time in the morning, so I got up earlier than usual and tried to meditate in the morning by myself. It is a temple that is said to have been founded by Ieyasu Tokugawa in Keicho 6 (1601). You can experience everything from zazen meditation to samu (sank) where you look at yourself through cleaning, sermons that teach you about Buddhism and Zen in an easy-to-understand way, and the Zen breakfast kayu za (scum). It is located in an area called Ichijoji, which is a little far from the center of Kyoto, and the surrounding area is very quiet. I feel as if I have forgotten the hustle and bustle of the city and came far away.

Be greeted by a beautiful karesansui garden


There is a dry landscape garden "Soryu-tei Garden (Idx = setting)" on the way to the meditation training hall after passing through the gate. Many Karesansui gardens are simple, but I feel something gorgeous and powerful. The white sand represents the sea of clouds, the stone arrangement represents a dragon, and the rising stone pillar represents lightning. There is no partition between the path through the garden and the garden, so you can see the garden up close.

Start of ascetic practices at 6 AM



The ascetic practices start at 6 o'clock, starting with zazen. Beginners should gather 15 minutes before the class and learn how to sit and breathe. The sound of the bell echoes in the clear morning air. The Zen temple where nuns trained until recent years has a mysterious and elegant atmosphere. I did two 20 minute zazen meditations.

Samu, sermon


After zazen (sitting meditation), ascetic practices called samu (samu). While cleaning historical and beautiful gardens and buildings, you remove bad things and distractions in yourself. You can learn about Buddhism and Zen from the sermon that the chief priest talks about himself. It's hard to get a chance to learn something new when you grow up. I felt fresh.

The last ascetic practice, shukuza


When I thought I was going to be hungry, I did my last training. It's time for gruel sitting. The term "kayu za" refers to breakfast in the Zen sect. I will have a simple breakfast of rice porridge and pickles with other participants and the chief priest. Maybe because I was active from the morning, the breakfast was simpler than usual, but I felt it was very delicious.

After training, walk around the precincts.



Relaxing while looking at the Togyu no Niwa (Juugyu no Niwa) that was built in the early-modern times. I feel very calm and calm. It's a strange feeling as if you blend into the surrounding scenery. You'll be able to see the beautiful temple grounds, such as the Suikinkutsu with a faint sound of water and the groomed bamboo grove.

After the temple


I stayed a little long, but I have to go home now. I think I can do anything with this clean state. I think it's good to take a short trip or visit a cafe I've always wanted to go to. I can't believe I'm looking forward to this day because of my zazen experience from the morning! It's the first experience in the morning, so I recommend it before work or sightseeing.


■ Enko-ji Temple

13 Ichijoji Otani-cho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City
Take the City Bus to "Ichijoji Sagarimatsu-cho" and walk for about 10 minutes, or take the Eizan Electric Railway to "Ichijoji Temple" and walk for 15 minutes.
■Zen experience
Every Sunday * Reservation by phone is required by the previous day
6:00 to 8:00
1000 yen (including admission fee)

I want to know more about the world of Zen.


This time I experienced 2 Zazen in the evening and early morning. It's just time to sit and concentrate without thinking too much. My mind and body have become clearer, my mind has become clearer, and I want to learn more about Zen that I somehow knew in school classes and lectures. Why don't you have time to look at yourself in the morning and evening in the cool and comfortable summer?

Zen experience, recommended 3 temples

There are many temples in Kyoto City where you can experience Zen meditation, but I recommend three of them.

You can meditate while looking at the garden "Ryosokuin".


A sub-temple of Kennin-ji Temple, a Zen temple in Gion. Until the middle of the Muromachi period, it was considered the pinnacle of the "Gozan literature" Chinese poetry written by Zen monks. The precincts are usually closed to the public, but you can enter during the meditation experience. In early summer, the garden is specially opened to the public and you can see the temple treasures and tea rooms.

■ Ryosokuin

591 Komatsu-cho, 4 chome, Yamatooji-dori Shijo-sagaru, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City
5 minutes walk from the Shijo Keihan Bus Stop.
*Something you can experience:Zazen

There are various Zen experiences other than Zazen "Shorin-ji Temple".


It is a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji Temple, whose principal image is Bishamonten, built in 19 (1550). You can experience various things such as Zazen, Shakyo, Shabutsu, Chogayu and Yoga, so it is popular from all ages. You can experience something every day, and it is attractive that it is easy to adjust the schedule! The Goshuin which you can receive in each season and season seems to be a topic.

■ Shorin-ji Temple

15 -795 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku Ward, Kyoto City
Five minutes walk from the city bus stop, Tofuku-ji Temple.
*Something you can experience:Zazen, shakyo, shabutsu, zazen and yoga, zazen and asagayu

Zen meditation classes are held mainly on holidays "Daisen-in Temple".

A sub-temple of Daitoku-ji Temple built in Eisho 6 (1509). Tokonoma and the entrance are the oldest existing ones in Japan and designated as national treasures. That Sennorikyu are also associated with him! The highlight is the three dry landscape gardens surrounding the abbot's quarters, which are also designated as a special place of scenic beauty by the country. The Zen meditation experience is held mainly on Saturdays and Sundays, so it's easy to participate even if you come to Kyoto on a trip.

■ Daisen-in Temple

54 -1 Murasakino Daitokuji-cho, Kita Ward, Kyoto City
8 minutes walk from the city bus stop, Daitoku-ji mae.
*Something you can experience:Zazen (17 to 18 o'clock from March-November and 16:30 to 17:30 from 12 to February)
*Aside from Saturdays and Sundays, there is also Hoonzazen on the 24th of every month.

Aika Nishigaki

She was a writer belonging to Kyoto editorial production "edit plus". I look forward to taking a walk looking for something delicious on weekends. Recently, I am addicted to collecting goshuin, and I like the goshuin I received at Nashinoki-jinja Shrine.

Naoki Matsuda

A photographer with a history of 8 years in Kyoto who has been attracted and moved to a city in Kyoto. Photographs regardless of genre, such as cooking, people, and architecture. I like coffee and go to cafes often.