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“Quiet Stay”

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Shunkoin Temple Guest House
Ranked #30 of 300 Specialty lodging in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
52 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Quiet Stay”
Reviewed November 19, 2013

If you're looking for a quiet, serene and very special stay in Kyoto, Shunkoin might just be the place for you. Located within the amazing Myōshin-ji Temple Complex in a rather un-touristy residential area you can unwind after all the commotion of downtown Kyoto and the crowded tourist attractions. Yet the location is convenient, as there are a few restaurants, conveniance stores and even a post office within walking distance and the JR Station Hanazono is maybe 10 minutes by foot from where you're at Kyoto's main station in no time. Each visitos receives a lovingly drawn and detailed map of the area with all this information.

The guesthouse and it's rooms are brand new (hence the hey-like smell of the tatami floor) and very comfortable and well equipped. The futon mats are quite thick, so quite comfortable, but the pillows (maybe filled with cherry stones or something similar) take a bit to get used it. Everything is spotlessly clean and the staff very kind and helpful. As check-in and check-out times are rather restrictive (it's a temple guesthouse, not a hotel, after all) I left my suitcase in a coin locker in Kyoto Station until check-in was available.

Don't miss the meditation and tour of the temple!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank LiMo2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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126 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
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  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
74 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2013

This is easily one of the best places I have ever stayed in (have traveled a fair amount around the world). First, it is REAL, meaning you are staying in a real, working Zen temple, in the middle of a vast Zen temple complex, comprising maybe 15-20 temples. At night it is so quiet, quite a contrast from the bustle of downtown Kyoto. It is also real in the sense that the temple complex is surrounded by middle-class neighborhoods, which allow you a glimpse of real Japanese life, away from the touristy stuff. Rev. Kawakami who runs the temple is also quite real, with deep family roots in the Zen tradition and running the temple, but also Western-educated, thoroughly modern, and down-to-earth. His meditation classes are highly recommended.

The actual accommodations are basic but new, and completely adequate. I loved the bare room, keeps life simple, and the futon is quite comfy to sleep on. Some people on this site complained about "wet-dog smell". That is most likely the smell of the still-new tatami mats, and to me actually smells very pleasant, the closest smell I can think is the smell of sweetgrass. So, it is almost like falling asleep in freshly-mown hay, I loved it! A couple of nice touches - free bikes to explore around, and communal kitchen for informal meals and chats with other visitors. All that, lots of character and charm, and with modest prices, hard to beat, really.

Some quibbles - the walls are thin, and that can be bothersome if you have bad luck with neighbors. Also, some of the bikes are in bad shape. But overall, I can't say enough good things about this place.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank idichev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2013

this place is so wonderful and peaceful. the location is a little out of the way but it is very close to the golden temple and the bamboo forest which is nice. and it is easy enough to get a train or a taxi to go to other parts of kyoto. the bikes available for use were great as well. the woman who checked us in was a little flustered. we arrived earlier than check in time due to flight arrivals and though i had informed the temple in advance, this bothered her greatly and she commented numerous times that we were early. i didnt ask to be placed into the room, just to drop off my stuff as i had emailed about but her attitude was that i was putting her out. that was a little off-putting but i was also really tired from an overnight flight and so may have been feeling a little prickly. later, when i asked for another map this also seemed to bother her greatly. the temple was lovely and everyone else was very warm and welcoming, but the expat woman assisting was a little prickly.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kristin2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
São Paulo, Brasil
Level Contributor
41 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2013

I stayed at the Shunkoin temple for 3 nights in mid September with 2 friends. Many pros, just one con: the way the tatami in our room smelled (the best way to describe it is like a dog that's been in the rain). But the room itself was more than all right: clean, with air con, nice shower. Like most hotels, B&Bs and guest houses in Japan, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel by mainstream brands such as Dove or Shisheido are available and they wrote what was what in English. The communal kitchen was fine also. The guest house is quite small, so well cared for. The temple is also on the small side, but it is part of a bigger temple complex, Myoshinji, which is quite lovely actually. I took the mediation class (had never done it before) and enjoyed it very much. PLus you get to use the bikes for free. It is very easy to access the complex with the JR line and also by bus (dont remember the specifics now but they'll give you instructions when you contact them), and it's very near kinkaku-ji (the golden pavillion, a kyoto's must-see) and ryoan-ji (the one with the zen rock garden). Also, english is well spoken there. Would definitely return.

Room Tip: Light up some incense when you're in the room, so you wont smell the tatamis at all.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank psterzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2013 via mobile

We are an older couple and very much enjoyed staying here. The room was simple but we had everything we needed including a well equipped communal kitchen/ dining room. We were greeted and helped by a lovely young lady with good English and a map of the amenities in the area.
We enjoyed the Meditation and you don't have to sit on the floor to be involved! The tour of the Temple was interesting and informative.
We managed to find our way there by train and walking, but found it easier to use the bus to get around.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Ann R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2013

It is a beautiful setting and I had a wonderful stay. The room was large and comfortable and the surroundings were serene.

Just a couple of comments/tips:

(1) If you arrive when it's dark, make sure you get off at the right train station and have a sense of which way is north and south. There may not be many English speakers or signs.

(2) The meditation class and tour is worth it, but is designed for Westerners that are very new to meditation/Buddhism. I think I was expecting it to have more gravitas than it did, but the other people in the group seemed happy with how accessible it was. Just to provide a little more detail, when I attended the class/tour, there were about 10-12 of us and we first listened to a brief introduction to meditation by an English speaking guide (who made references to topics/issues that suggested a connection to California, e.g. references were made to Google, Stanford, politics of same sex marriage, neuroscience and brain scans, meditating while driving, etc.), the group then sat for two meditations sessions of about 15 minutes each, toured the adjacent rooms/garden and had tea and rice crackers.

Overall, my stay was wonderful. I was only there for one night, but I already miss it.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank MountainSunMoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2013

remember this is a monastery.
All were helpful. Temple grounds wonderful. Had access to a good bike which I used daily.
Kitchen was great had everything you needed. Wonderful people stayed and shared.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank buondiverti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shunkoin Temple Guest House

Property: Shunkoin Temple Guest House
Address: 42 Myoshinji-cho, Hanazono, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8035, Kyoto Prefecture
Phone Number:
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Western Kyoto
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #30 of 300 Specialty lodging in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shunkoin Temple Guest House "Tetsuryu-Kutsu (the Cave of Enlightened Dragon)"This is the only temple accommodation in Kyoto which offers its services and Zen meditation class in English. Our temple accommodation facility has eight private rooms.Each guest room has a 14.6-suquare-meter bedroom with traditional tatami mats, in which 2 - 3 people can comfortably sleep. Each room also has its own shower room, toilet, heater and air conditioner.The facility has a shared kitchen and dining room. You can make tea, coffee, or basic meals there. The kitchen is equipped with a microwave, toaster, and basic appliances.Shunkoin is located in the center of the biggest temple complex in Kyoto so you can enjoy peace and silence even though you are still inside the city of Kyoto. Also, there are three UNESCO World Heritage sites (the Golden Pavilion, Ryoanji Temple, and Ninnaji Temple) near Shunkoin Temple. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shunkoin Temple Guest House Hotel Kyoto

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