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“very intersting experience. Great dinner and splendid garden”
Review of Sekishoin

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Sekishoin
Reviewed November 17, 2012

Good location, near the Koya grave-yard, Dinner was very good. Breakfast less. But the experience of sleeping in taht place is great. Highly recommended. The morning cermony of the monks was nice.The only question: why it is so expensive....

Room Tip: Rooms with the exit to the garden are the best
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Moshe B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 31, 2012

This temple lodging is very close to the Koya-san cemetery main entrance. Apparently it has rooms with different degrees of comfort, but I can only comment on the one we had. This was in the traditional Japanese style (tatami + low table during the day, futons "magically" installed while you are having dinner), quite large, clean (not so much the bathroom, but OK nevertheless), with TV and a veranda opening directly to a nice garden.

The monk that received us was a bit harsh, but everything goes smoothly if you understand and accept that you are not in a normal hotel.

Dinner was very good, with 15+ tasty small dishes of vegetarian food. To our surprise, beer was available!

Early in the morning we attended a moving prayer ceremony, followed by a too frugal Japanese style breakfast, far from the previous dinner quality.

I can't comment on value because we stayed as part of a package trip.

All in all, a really worthwhile experience.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank elviatger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2012

This is authentic! It is also a busy little place but a place where nothing is too much trouble even if you don't speak Japanese. The garden outlook is lovely and the heated blanket over the floor height table in your room is very nice. A hot thermos of tea deliver to your room on arrival is a lovely touch, as are the little bird biscuits to go with it. The food is traditional and vegetarian and it may perhaps help to have a little instruction as to what to do with it and what order to eat it in etc. The room was cold and a bit musty smelling but it is made up for with the authenticity. Morning prayers show you a beautiful everyday temple. They are tolerant of on lookers. Maps in the area are not great but that is of no fault of the establishment and are perhaps just displaying a different way of thinking to a bushwalking Aussie used to following accurate topographical and street maps. Buses service the town well and the train experience is great. Being presented with a bracelet to keep me safe on the first night and being gifted with another charm for good health was touching. As a middle aged solo English speaking traveller I think I was a curiosity. No-one else seemed to be using the free internet but they were mainly older people on bus trips. The shared bathhouse looked a bit too tired and grubby for me to venture in but I think once again it is the buddhist philosophy not to be wasteful. I did not want to share the cake of soap, roll on deodorant and washcloth left in my room but appreciate the heated toilet seat. Sleeping between blankets rather than fresh sheets was also confronting but you are supplied with fresh pyjamas that are elsticised at the wrists and ankles, enabling them to act as a barrier between you and their bedclothes. The pillow is a small buckwheat pillow. If you don't like the smell of kero in an unventilated room I suggest you just use the gas heater provided.

Room Tip: I suppose the new rooms are brighter and fresher but my suite of rooms was original and quaint. I th...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank alp390
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2011

Stayed here 1 night and enjoyed my experience. I am not a fan of the vegan food, but you know that is what you get, so it's ok. Two meals and there are morning prayers. The room is a bit old, with some stains, but on the other hand you get a big room with a toilet, shower and a balcony in the garden where you can sit. If you stay here for 1 night and don't want to pay more for the more expensive ones, this will be perfectly adequete. I enjoyed it but perhaps other people want a little more luxury.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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Thank B M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2011

I have stayed at Koya-san close to 10 times. It's one of my favorite places in Japan and I wanted to spend a couple days hiking and writing. The only problem with Koya-san is there are no budget options. There is a youth hostel, but it is currently closed. Most temples charge about 12,000 yen and I've gotten pretty uniform service with all of them. So, I figured staying at this place with the "discount" rate of about 9,000 yen wouldn't be a big change. It is. Again, Koya-san is an incredible place, but you get what you pay for. 9,000 yen per night isn't exactly cheap, but here are the problems if you downgrade to this price:
1) The food is a huge downgrade. As another reviewer noted, the tempura is stone cold. When I complained on the second night, the server seemed surprised. He offered to heat it up, but the problem with tempura is it's not something that can be fixed just by popping it in the microwave.
2) As another reviewer also noted, this temple caters to huge tourist groups during the day. This seems to account for the absent-minded or downright rude treatment of those few spending the night. It took a long time to check in. When I was shown to my room, I was told there was a water pot with Japanese tea. I asked for a pot with plain water so I could make my own coffee. The response was "Oh yes, I'll be right back." Well, it's 2 days later now and no hot water...
3) Yes, this place is dirty. I've stayed in every price and type of accommodation in Japan, but the underlying factor is even the cheapest place is clean. This place has a closet full of soiled and smelly futon and blankets. And a soiled carpet leading to your room.
Anyway, one would think that if you stay in a temple you would get basic, spartan treatment. However, Koya-san is fairly high-priced and the temples I stayed at before offered clean and scenic rooms with quite good food. So, you get what you pay for. Expect to pay 12,000 yen or so if you want HOT food, clean rooms, and decent service.

Room Tip: Spend more and stay elsewhere. It's worth it.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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7  Thank J R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2011

We stayed at this place for one night in October of 2011, we arrived earlier than check in time, and still got in the room, we even got upgraded to a room with a bathroom and a shower (we only paid for a Japanese style room with shared facilities), we were greeted warmly with fresh tea, the room has a great garden view, it is Ryokan style as we requested.
So, why am I giving this Hotel a 2? Big reason, and few small reasons, the bedding wasn't clean, this was our fifth Ryokan style stay, so, we know what the tatami style is supposed to be, your covers should NOT be plain blankets that are used by everybody without washing, and your pillow cover SHOULD be fresh and clean, well, not there, the sheet under us was a blanket that had stains on it, the cover was another blanket that also had stains, and the pillow was a very small pillow that had the wrinkles that showed that another head was sleeping on it the night before. Also, if you are a westerner, you really need more than two thin tatamis to sleep on, in the prior Ryokan experiences, we used 3 or 4 tatamis on top of each other, they only have a total of 4 tatami matresses, where each of us could get two, it was too thin for us to sleep on. The food was not enough in quantity, and cold, the tempura was cold and soggy, just like everything else, they prepare the dinner in teh morning, and gave us fresh warm rice, and hot water with teh food at dinner time, you shouldn't eat the tempura several hours after frying, should you? We are vegeterians, and we can tell you that you can eat much better vegeterian stuff in Japan that what they serve there. They stick the westerners in a small room by themselves, while the Japanese tourists eat in the big dining room, this is not necessarily bad, it is just the rule.
The other thing that really pissed us off, is that on the check out date, we ate breakfast at 7:00am, and went for a walk outside, came back around 9:00am to find our bags pulled out of the closet, and thrown in the corner of the room, and the room was made, of course, our same sheets were packed, and waiting for the next guests, they say that the check out time is at 12 noon, but, effectively, you really have to check out by 8:00am. the upside about that, is that you can also check in at 11:00am.
All is all, paying $230 a night for that was not worth it, if I were to do it again, I would stay somewhere else, please note though, that visiting Koyasan is a MUST.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Hayyoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2011

Sekisho-in seems to entertain large day-time parties of visitors, but was very quiet at night when I was there - I think there was only one other person staying.

My room was a large traditional Japanese space, with separate en-suite bathroom. The room had everything I needed and was very comfortable. The gardens were beautiful, nice to look at from the room but you could also wander around them. The property is quite well located, 10 minutes walk from the village centre (such as it is) and close to the start of the Oku-no-in cemetery.

Vegetarian (probably vegan) dinner and breakfast are included and were a real cultural experience - most of the food was very tasty and certainly there was enough to keep hunger away. No other food on site, but there is a vending machine (it even sells beer!).

Although staff/monks are friendly, you see very little of them and there isn't a lot of English spoken. I did attend the morning service, and I was pleased to read other people saying the same because I was worried I might have missed an evening service - I went looking for it but found nothing.

Not a conventional hotel stay, but a memorable experience.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank BVC2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sekishoin

Address: 571 Koyasan, Koya-cho, Ito-gun 648-0211, Wakayama Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Wakayama Prefecture > Ito-gun > Koya-cho
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #40 of 46 Specialty lodging in Koya-cho
Price Range: $132 - $242 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Sekishoin 2.5*
Number of rooms: 60
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Also Known As:
Sekishoin Hotel Koya-Cho

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