Get your own personal guide of Izushi, Chat with a Buddhist Monk, Participate in Meditation, and more!
Take this chance to explore the castle town with an English-speaking local AND to casually chat with a Japanese Buddhist monk! The English-speaking guide will show you around town, sharing lesser-known information and taking you to the attractions of your choice.
After your morning tour, you'll head over with your guide to Sukyoji Temple. The monk that will meet you there is named Yudoh Kohara, and he has been the monk for Sukyoji for 12 years. Over a bowl of matcha and scrumptious traditional sweets, you can ask him any questions that you'd like, such as questions regarding the history of the temple, the monk's own background, and Buddhist teachings. His house that includes a traditional tea room is located right next to the temple, overlooking the gardens.
Visit interesting spots in town such as the Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre, the Samurai House, and the Izushi Castle Ruins. The local guide has personal anecdotes and lots of interesting facts about each location.
After the morning tour and lunch, you get the opportunity to participate in two traditional Buddhist activities. The first one is Zazen, which is a type of seated meditation. It starts with correcting your breathing posture, and originated in India. The doctrine of Zen Buddhism can be described as wordless communication, or expression without language. You can escape from hectic everyday life and open your ears to the sounds of nature during Zazen. You will hear birds chirping and the wind whispering, sounds that you probably wouldn’t normally hear. Then your mind will soon have a sense of unity, which is why many people experience Zazen.
After the seated meditation, you can choose between doing Shakyo (sutra-copying) or Shabutsu (tracing a picture of a Buddhist image). Both are very ancient practices that are unknown by many. Shakyo, which is the practice of copying Buddhist sutras by hand, is considered a merit in Buddhism. Shabutsu is the practice of copying Buddhist images by hand, images which were once used to spread the teachings before the printing press. Both are now considered forms of meditation, allowing one to clear the mind and focus on the task at hand. You may keep your sutras or images once you are finished.
The monk will also show you around the temple and gardens. This zen temple was built in 1392. This was the family temple where the family of Izushi Castle had worshipped for generations. Here the Buddhist monk Takuan Soho created his namesake, which is pickled daikon radish (“takuan”), a vegetable dish now popular all over Japan. For this reason, the temple is also referred to as “Takuan Temple”. Takuan Soho was also the instructor to the great swordsman Musashi Miyamoto. Look for various takuan decorations around the temple.
- REGISTRATION START
- RESERVATION DEADLINE
- 7 days before activity
(Some times may differ)
9:45 - Meet guide at Kinosaki Tourist Information SOZORO
10:09 - Depart from Kinosaki Onsen Station by JR train (with guide)
10:13 - Arrive at Toyooka Station
10:35 - Depart from Toyooka Station by bus (with guide)
11:05 - Arrive at Izushi via bus from Toyooka Station
11:10 - Explore Izushi with guide
Izushi Castle Ruins, Shinkoro Clock Tower, Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre / Samurai House
12:15 - Lunch
Izushi Sara Soba, the town's specialty
13:30 - Meet at Sukyoji Temple
Get a tour of the temple and gardens
14:00 - Zazen meditation
14:30 - Shakyo or Shabutsu
*Sutra-copying or Tracing a picture of a Buddhist image
15:00 - Tea and Chat with the temple's monk
Receive special souvenir
15:30 - End of activity
16:00 - Depart from Izushi by bus (with guide)
16:25 - Arrive at Toyooka Station
17:00 - Depart from Toyooka Station by JR train (with guide)
17:12 - Arrive at Kinosaki Onsen Station
- ACCOMPANYING GUIDE
(INCLUDED OR NOT)
- MINIMUM NUMBER OF PEOPLE
- AGE REQUIREMENT
- None as long as there is an accompanying adult
- MEETING PLACE
- Kinosaki Tourist Information SOZORO, 96 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka-shi, Hyogo-ken
(Per person unless otherwise noted)
Number of People Participating in Total Price per Person 1 person N/A 2 people 19,300 yen 3 people 15,200 yen 4 people 13,100 yen 5 people 11,800 yen 6 people 11,000 yen
- CANCELLATION FEES
Day of Cancellation Cancellation Fee (% of activity price) The day of 100% The day before 50% 2-7 days before 20% 8+ days before 0%
- ACCEPTED PAYMENT TYPES
- Pay by credit card (VISA, MASTER, JCB, AMEX, DC) via an activity confirmation link in an e-mail that we will send to you following your reservation. Please pay the amount by 3 days prior to the activity at the latest. If not paid by then, the activity reservation will be automatically cancelled.
- OPERATOR NAME
- Toyooka Tourism Innovation