Shukubo (宿坊)

Shukubo is a form of lodging for priests who are conducting ascetic practices, mainly in Buddhist temples. It is also called Sobo.

Originally, it was a facility in which only priests lodged, but during the Heian period, in which it became common to visit temples, they started to let nobility, samurai and even general visitors lodge, and managers began to change from priests to half-priest and half-common managers (onshi) in relation to particular temples.

With the emergence of the Edo period, Oise Mairi (a group pilgrimage to Ise-jingu Shrine) and Zenko-ji Temple tours became popular, forming a kind of tourist industry by preparing shukubo at large temples in various places, forming connections between certain regions with certain shukubo, etc.

In most shukubo, its chief priest lectures to the people who have lodged as a morning religious service, but in most places it takes the form of voluntary participation.

Also, in the present day there are temples that directly manage shukubo, and people can enjoy shojin ryori (vegetarian dishes) and experience Zen sitting meditation in exchange for relatively inexpensive lodging charges.

[Original Japanese]