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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

Temple Lodging in Japan
By:Josh Shulman

Most of us opt for luxury and comfort while preparing for vacation, within our budget of course. When abroad we strive to stay at home away from home, with a large bed and convenient facilities. Some even splurge on top notch hotels with world class hospitality. These places can be found anywhere in the world, but have you ever thought of spending part of your vacation at a place where your heart is one with nature, and where you connect with and get to know your inner-self as well as a unique aspect of Japanese life? Consider visiting Japan and experience it unconventionally through temple lodging.

Temple lodging has existed in Japan since the Heian Period. In Japan, you will find shrines and temples where you can find accommodation facilities. These shrines and temples are known as Shukubo. Originally, Shukubo were only meant for followers and worshipers. But today no matter who you are; what are your religious beliefs; you can stay at a Shukubo. Moreover, these places are not merely lodges, but give you an opportunity to get a closer look at traditional Japanese culture.

Since Shukubo's are religious places, as a guest you would need to follow some rules. Being considerate in Japan is important; it is even more critical in these places to have respect for their way of life. During your stay in Shukubo's, you will also receive meals. The food being served is paid special attention to in Shukubo's. The Buddhist temples serve Shojin, an organic, vegetarian Japanese cuisine. Unlike other Japanese food items, Shojin does not contain any meat or fish. Rather, the food is intended solely for providing nourishment. Shojin includes vital minerals, vitamins and food fiber. It's simple food that gives your body only what it really needs. Shojin has been prepared since ancient times throughout many parts of Asia. First it was meant only for training priests, but today it is served to worshipers as well as to visitors.

Staying in historic wooden buildings surrounded by nature during your visit in Japan would be a different experience, to say the least. If you looking to immerse in the serenity of nature, while catching a glimpse into the traditional, religious way of Japanese life, Shukubo lodging needs to be on your list. There are numerous temples that are open to visitors, many in the Kyoto area. One of the most famous (and perhaps the largest and most touristy) is the temple in Koyasan (Mt. Koya) that is accessible from Osaka.

Josh Shulman, Author of "All-You-Can Japan: Getting the Most Bang For Your Yen" http://www.allyoucanjapan.com

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