Practice with a group of meditators and a monk in an 800-year-old temple and enjoy a meal at Japan's most famous gourmet Zen vegetarian restaurant.
What to Expect
This tour offers a contemplative experience of Zen and the culture around it. The small group will gather at 11:30 in central Tokyo and travel together by train to Kita-Kamakura, a major center of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Enter a major Zen temple founded in 13th century, and join an open Zen meditation (Zazen) session for laypeople led by one of the temple’s monks.
Sit cross-legged on meditation cushions on the floor, but it is not at all required to sit in true full- or half-lotus position; in fact, many of the Japanese participants will not be doing so. Your guide will brief you in advance on temple protocol and what to expect during the Zazen, which will consist of two separate 15- to 20-minute sittings with a break in between and brief comments by the monk (in Japanese).
After the Zazen ends you will explore the serene grounds of the temple and other temples close by. Photographers and nature lovers will enjoy the peaceful and elegant settings. Take a tea break and also visit a few shops offering local crafts and other gifts. You will then go to a nearby Michelin-listed restaurant famous throughout Japan for its Zen vegetarian Shojin Ryori cuisine. There you will enjoy a multi-course meal as well as explanations of the Shojin Ryori tradition and what we will be eating. By 19:00 you will be back to Tokyo, satisfied and perhaps a bit more serene than when you started.
- All admissions
- Gourmet vegetarian dinner and matcha green tea snack
Know Before You Go
• Please wear clothes comfortable and modest for sitting. Shoes and socks must be removed in the meditation hall but women may wear tights
• Phones must be completely off inside the meditation hall.
• WiFi is unlikely to be available elsewhere during this tour