Kaihou-ji Zen Temple


Zen Temple




private house


1 - 5 pers.


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Experience the True Essence of Japanese Zen

– Zen : A Way of Life –

Peace of Mind. Acceptance. Embracing that which does not last. Understanding that Nothing is Everything. Zen Buddhism is a Way of Life.

This exclusive stay within the Zen temple of Kaihou-ji, known for its unique fucha hand-made monk food, brings the heart and soul of Japanese culture to guests. By staying at this Zen temple that is normally closed to the public, guests will feel in their hearts and souls what it is like to accept and embrace the Zen way of life. A powerful, unique, and unforgettable experience.

Rediscover yourself through the special cultural experience of tradition in a Zen temple with monks. The unparalleled experience of Zen, that includes Zazen meditation, chanting of sutras, and the tea ceremony, also gives one a better insight and understanding to Japanese values, cultures, and history.

In addition, guests are helping, through their financial contributions, to preserve cultural properties and to ensure that the profound culture of Zen Buddhism is both preserved as well as passed on to future generations.


– Kaihou-ji Temple –

Set in a quiet, urban neighborhood in southern Kyoto, about a half hour’s drive from the city center, Kaihouji is a unique property.  The tiny compound itself seems to have been plucked from a village.

Since the 18th century, Kaihouji is a temple of the Obaku Zen Buddhism school, and is famous for its unique fucha ryori (Chinese-style monk cuisine) that Ingen Ryuki Zenji, the founder of Manpukuji Obaku Zen temple had introduced from China. Kaihouji temple is nowadays known as a “School of Fucha”.

Along with its fucha ryori monk cuisine, Kaihou-ji is also famous for its abbot’s chamber ink paintings called “Gunkei-zu” (Cocks and Hens) , created by famous and iconoclast painter Ito Jakuchu in 1790. This is the very last painting created by Ito Jakuchu itself, who stopped to painting then. An unique piece of art normally not open to public eyes.


– Guest Experience –


  • Exclusive night stay within the abbot’s chamber, close to the “Gunkei-zu” painted by Ito Jakuchu.
  • Chinese-style monk cuisine fucha ryori : experience of the Chinese-style vegetarian cuisine introduced to Japan by Ingen, a Zen monk who came from China. Guests will enjoy the cuisine by listening to the monk’s explanation about each meal and also manners to enjoy the cuisine.
  • Private Zazen meditation : Zazen is one of the basic Zen practices aiming of one’s mental concentration, by sitting in the right posture. Guests experience this practice by learning from a Zen Buddhist monk.
  • Sutra chanting ceremony : guests will be granted the rare privilege to attend the morning sutra reciting ceremony that takes place early in the morning within the temple Buddha hall.
  • Morning walk : Having a walk within the land of Kaihoji temple, where the residence of Date Masamune was located is a privilege of participants of this Zen experience. Guests will enjoy the private fresh morning air of the temple.


– Guest Exclusive Privileges –


  • Experience the most fulfilled and authentic private cultural program related to Zen of Japan
  • Exclusive night stay within an authentic Zen temple normally closed to the public
  • Direct encountering with the head monk of the premises, who will host guests during their stay and provides them with accurate guidance and teaching about Zen philosophy
  • Personal translator assistance at disposal during your stay


– Monk’s Words –

Shokyoku Araki and his son Sosei are the monks who take care of guests here.  Warm and welcoming, to stay here is to stay in someone’s home.  It feels like being in a spiritual place as well as with family.

I was born here, at this temple,” says Shokyoku Araki .  He laughs.  “Well, at a hospital!  But I grew up here.  My grandfather introduced fucha ryori to this area.

Hi son Sosei Araki  is in charge of the preparation of this unique fucha ryori monk cuisine, that even most of Japanese native have never tried. “It takes two to three days to prepare dinners for a few guests,” Araki says.

A truly Zen training of dedication by itself.

> check the complete ZEN Experience program <

Kaihou-ji - Highlights


Kaihou-ji - Zen Experience


This is an exclusive, 100% private stay experience within an authentic Zen temple not open to the general public. For this reason, we kindly ask you to fill out the contact form below to inquiry about availability, price and experience arrangements. We look forward to welcoming you soon.