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“A pleasant experience”

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Ekoin Temple, Koyasan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 31, 2012

It’s hard to review a temple lodging, since unsurprisingly I have nothing to compare it to, and your experience is likely to depend to a large extent on your expectations. We went in intrigued, open-minded, not expecting anything particularly life-changing, and were glad we stayed for a night.

The monks were polite and helpful, to the extent that they could be. For example, it was a shame that the meditation session on our visit couldn’t be translated into English, but from what I could gather that depends on the availability of an English speaking monk.

The room was lovely, looking out on the delightful gardens. Having our meals in here was a peaceful delight. The food itself was good but not outstanding, and the cheapest (and therefore smallest) meal option was perfectly sufficient.

The morning prayers and fire ceremony were interesting, but we’ll probably remember the experience more for the peace and quiet of the place after the daytrippers left town, either in our room or wandering around town.

It wasn’t all serene though: the atmosphere of the communal areas was more like a youth hostel than a sacred site, but that may just have been down to the guests on the night we stayed. It’s not a negative particularly, just don’t expect wall to wall reverence.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank JohnMenzies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 21, 2012

I agree with all the comments about the temple being beautiful, the food good and Koyasan being worth a visit.

However, we thought there would be more interaction between the monks and the guests (for instance, maybe we would all be eating/meditating together). Instead there were maybe 20 guests staying, we ate in our own rooms, and there were just 2 monks performing the morning ceremony. (The same 2 monks had told us how to meditate the night before and then left us to it).

All in all, we were left with the feeling that we were staying in an uncomfortable, over-priced room in a monastic theme park, rather than really being given an opportunity to experience monastic life.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Chris R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012 via mobile

The experience is overall magical and the temple beautiful..you can also participate in meditation sessions and buddhist ceremonies.
Koya san is a must see and this temple is one of the nicest in town. The price is just a little bit too high I think (100 Euros per Night) but it's exactly the same for all the temples in the area..so, take this one!

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank alessiaenna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2012

This is a good option for Koyasan. Easy to get to from the train station - just take the bus to Karakuya-do bus stop and walk straight a few meters. If you are coming from Osaka buy the "World Heritage" ticket at the Nankai train station as it will cover your train rides and give you unlimited bus rides throughout Koyasan for 2 days, which we found very helpful.

Eko-in is run by monks so don't expect any 'hotel service' type of experience. The room was pretty big but very simple/basic and the beds warm but not super comfortable. But don't forget - you are staying at a temple - not a hotel. Bathrooms are shared and there is a 'indoor onsen' type of a bath in the main area available in the evenings only (no showers/tub in the morning). WiFi is available only at reception/computer room area. Location - very close to the Okunoin cemetery - was superb!

We attended the morning prayer and the fire ceremony and they were very interesting. Food was simple but good and enough of it (we got the 10,000 Yen set). Breakfast was Japanese style so pretty much the same type of food as dinner.

Dinner is at 5:30pm in your room and it gets dark right after that. There is not much else to do in your room after dinner so we walked through the cemetery for a bit and then found a cute small bar with bright lights right accross from the bridge/cemetery entrace. Good french fries and beer.

Koysan is beautiful place to visit for 1 night. You can see all the sights in one afternoon/evening.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank DomCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

Ok, it is quite expensive and certainly the monks have understood that tourists staying for a "shukubo" (overnight in a temple) are a good business. But the place is just beautiful, very well located (a stone throw from Okunoin - which is magical at night - and a 10 min walk from the Garan), vegetarian food is delicious, meditation sessions short but enjoyable, rooms very large and nicely decorated, shared bathrooms and common areas very clean and well kept, monks extremely helpful and able to speak good English. A great experience that we would recommend to anyone.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank giorgionet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2012

Ekoin is a wonderful temple on the Eastern end of Koyasan (near the famous cemetery). The monks there were extremely welcoming, going out of their way to make sure we had what we needed. A major part of the experience are the early morning ceremonies at the beautiful main temple and the smaller one for the fire ritual. Definitely worth getting up super early to attend. Our buddhist vegetarian meals served in traditional style in our room were all delicious and well-presented.

We tend to be a rather private couple, so when we called for availability (and it is best to call--just say "Sumimasen, eigo o hanashimass ka?" and they will find you someone who speaks English) and were told rather apologetically that only the private suite was available, we excitedly jumped on it. What we didn't realize is that a big part of the experience are the shared meals (and evening baths) with the other guests. We felt a bit like we were missing out, even though our room and bathroom were great (and with an excellent shower!).

Ask at the office for a map of the area; it makes a big difference. Definitely spring for the night-time cemetery tour for an extra 1500 yen/person - it's pretty magical being in this ancient cemetery at night surrounded by thousand-year old cedar trees, guided by an English-speaking monk.

Keep in mind that Koyasan sits on top of a large mountain, so given the altitude it's considerably cooler (even in the Summer) than the cities of Japan. We found we were rather cold in our room even in mid-September, and weren't prepared for it. Close the screens if you want to keep your room comfortable. Oh, and pack bug spray. Lots of bug spray.

All in all, a unique experience and great food with friendly monks.

Room Tip: A big part of the experience are the shared meals (and evening baths) with the other guests. We fel...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank erinandetan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2012

Having read about the Koya-san area and also from recommendation from friends I knew that we had to visit this area. The journey from Osaka was relatively simple and there was some stunning views. We choose Eko-in from their Tripadvisor rating and also their pricing (which is reasonable compared to some places in the area). Before arriving they had quickly and efficently (better than some hotels I have emailed) answered any questions I had and also agreed to pay cash upon departure for the room stay, which was great. Once we arrived (before check-in time) they kindly took us straight to our room explained how everything worked, poured us a cup of green tea and then allowed us to get settled in. We left to go and sightsee straight away. We came back around 5pm and within the hour we had settled into our room (simple but spacious) and we had dinner served. We really enjoyed the dinner and did not miss that there was no meat or fish - it really was delicious, well presented and the perfect amount. We had tofu, tempura, soba noodles, pickled vegetables and more! YUM YUM!! After dinner our room was set up for sleep and we headed off to us the bathing facilities (only open 4pm-10pm). So there is an area where you take all your clothes off and then move through into the communal shower area and then there is a small onsen to sit back and relax in. Don't feel shy, this is the way they do it in the onsens in Japan - enjoy it! They had liquid soap and shampoo so you don't even need that. They provide yukatas in the room so you can wander down to the baths in those. The futons where comfortable and we enjoyed a great nights sleep. We got up for the chanting and fire ceremonies and it was totally worth getting up for both and it was very peaceful experience to be invited to join. All of the monks were very friendly and welcoming and could teach some service workers a thing or two! Loved my stay here and would go back again. The temple is close to Bus Stop #9 and is set in lovely gardens as well so good location for the temples and cemetery.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Helen G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ekoin Temple, Koyasan

Address: 497 Koyasan, Koya-cho, Ito-gun 648-0201, Wakayama Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Wakayama Prefecture > Ito-gun > Koya-cho
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 46 Specialty lodging in Koya-cho
Price Range: $196 - $368 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Ekoin Temple, Koyasan 2.5*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
【History of Ekoin】A 1000 year-old Buddhist temple, Shukubo Koya-san Eko-in offers Japanese-style accommodation, a beautiful garden, and free Wi-Fi. Guests are free to attend Buddhist morning services, the Goma fire ritual and meditation.【Rooms&Facilities】Rooms feature tatami-mat floors, traditional futon beds and paper sliding screens. They are fitted with an LCD TV and a safe. Bathroom facilities are shared, and the public baths are open only from 4 pm-10 pm daily.【Meals】Meals are served at the guest room at scheduled times and feature Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Groups of more than 4 people dine at the Japanese-style dining room, where chairs can be provided upon advance request.【Surroundings】Shukubo Temple is close to other ancient Buddhist buildings such as Kongobu-ji Temple, which is a 10 minute walk. The Ichi-no-Hashi entrance to the ancient Okuno-In Temple is a 3 minute walk away.*Guests can experience group meditation, and they can write Buddhist texts with a brush and ink on scrolls at their room. They can also go hiking in the scenic surroundings of Koya-san Eko-in. The temple has a lounge with a computer corner. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ekoin Temple Hotel Koya-Cho

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