A secluded Buddhist retreat in the mountains.
Located on Mt. Shosha outside of Himeji City, Engyoji offers you a mountain hike, countless historically significant temple buildings, and a chance to stay as a guest with the monks in the temple lodgings. Thousands of tourists visit Himeji Castle, but most of them miss the valuable Mt. Shosha, which we would regard as a bit of a loss! Here you can immerse yourself in an authentic experience of Japanese Buddhism in a natural setting.
To reach the temple, you can enjoy a hike or a quick ropeway ride from Himeji. This temple reminds me of what Buddhist temples were like in the old days, located in on a beautiful mountain and containing many small wooden buildings maintained in the traditional style. This type of temple is not often found on such a large scale in Japan anymore, especially in such proximity to the city. (That’s one of the reasons that this temple was used as filming location for the movie ”The Last Samurai” with Tom Cruise.)
I highly recommend spending the night at the temple lodgings here. If you wish, you may try seated meditation or hand-copying a sutra. Request the vegetarian monks’ food for dinner.
Note: Temple lodging is not provided for your personal comfort. It is a religious stay, and you must respect the temple’s rules.
Reservations are required three days before your visit.