Travel Deeper: Experience Zen Meditation in Kyoto

Find stillness and calm in Kyoto’s tranquil Shunkoin Temple

Kyoto is renowned as the home of some of Japan’s most celebrated temples and significant spots, but why not travel inward on your trip with an authentic meditation experience? Nestled in the historical Myoshinji Temple complex, Shunkoin Temple offers English-language Zen meditation classes, with other cultural experiences like tea ceremony and calligraphy classes available as well. It is here, in the tranquility of a traditional Japanese temple, that guests can learn the basics of Zen meditation and its core philosophies, and gaze out onto scenic gardens through sliding paper doors. Not only will you learn how to perform Zen meditation, but you will also discover how to incorporate key teachings of Zen philosophy into your daily life, with an emphasis on the scientific benefits of meditation practice.

The meditation course lasts around two hours and includes full instruction, with two 20-minute meditation sessions along with a tour of the temple and its historic artefacts. Led by the temple's vice abbot, you are sure to receive expert supervision throughout the course—Rev. Takafumi Kawakami has extensive experience teaching meditation and mindfulness around the world and has even delivered a TED talk on the subject. For anyone with a little more experience, advanced classes are also available.

A visit to Shunkoin Temple offers a unique opportunity to slow down for a moment and connect deeply with your destination. Experience traditional Japanese temple practices and develop new skills that have life-changing potential —surely, that’s one of the most memorable souvenirs any traveler could ask for.

Shunkoin Temple accepts bookings and inquiries in English online and by phone. Take a 15-minute train ride from Kyoto Station to Hanazono Station and you will reach the Myoshinji temple complex after a brief walk.

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