Temple Hotel Daitaiji
Photo: Temple Hotel Daitaiji

Take up camping and zen meditation at this 1,200 year-old temple in Wakayama

Surrounded by forested mountains, Daitaiji is located along a Unesco World Heritage-listed pilgrimage route

By
Emma Steen
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Retreating to nature can be a healing experience. Now, with this unique temple stay in Wakayama prefecture, you can get the most out of your getaway with a zen meditation programme at Temple Hotel Daitaiji. Dedicated to the Tendai and Rinzai sects of Buddhism, this 1,200-year-old historical temple can be found along the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, which is one of only two pilgrimage routes in the world listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. 

テンプル キャンプ大泰寺
Photo: Temple Hotel Daitaiji

Here you can choose to occupy one of the nine camping plots to pitch a tent or park your camper van. Prefer something more comfortable? You can also book one of two rooms in the temple for a more traditional overnight stay. At the site, you’ll wake up to the sound of morning prayers and adopt the way of the monks with a simple breakfast of rice porridge and pickled vegetables.  

Daitaiji
Photo: Temple Hotel Daitaiji

After breakfast, join the monks for a zen meditation session to help improve your focus and calm your mind. The hour-long session costs ¥1,100 per person, but there are also 30-minute sessions for those with young children. Other immersive experiences include the practice of shakyo (sutra copying), which is the therapeutic process of transcribing the teachings of Buddha with a calligraphy brush. 

Daitaiji
Photo: Temple Hotel Daitaiji

Bookings are open now, with room rates starting at around ¥15,000 for three people per night. Each room has a capacity for eight people, so there’s a fee of ¥4,500 for every additional person. Otherwise, book a camping plot for ¥3,000, excluding tents and amenities. 

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