6 Temples in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture Where You Can Experience Zazen Meditation and Copying Sutras! Experience Japan!

Shiga Prefecture has the highest number of temples per 100,000 people in the country.

One factor behind this is the presence of Enryaku-ji Temple, which is the head temple of the Tendai sect.

In such a temple-rich culture of Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, we have compiled temples where you can experience practices such as Zazen meditation and copying sutras.

Otsu City is located a short distance away, about 10 minutes by train from Kyoto Station, covering only two stations.

Why not try experiencing these hidden temples?

About Zen Sitting Meditation(Zazen)

What is Zen sitting meditation(Zazen)?

Zen means a person’s heart, and people practice Zen sitting meditation to face yourself and to rethink yourself.

Zen sitting meditation is a Buddhist practice method sitting in a correct posture and unites the spirit.

The effect of Zen sitting meditation is that if you concentrate on posture and breathing in a quiet environment, you will be able to relax by removing distracting thoughts.

And by focusing on breathing, you can increase your concentration.

It seems that you can gradually do it at first even if it is difficult.

Recommended Clothes When You Practice Zen Sitting Meditation

When you practice Zen sitting meditation, you keep sitting with your legs crossed for almost an hour.

So, relaxed pants are recommended, not tight pants.

Also, Zen sitting meditation is practiced barefoot.

Clothes that can be handled immediately such as socks are desirable.

How to Make Reservation

You can reserve on the website of each temples.

However, some of temples don’t have foreign language page.

And even if there was a English page, sometimes we cannot find a page for reservation.

If you couldn’t find page for reservation in your language, please ask hotel’s reception you stay.

Recently, I found some web site where you can make reservations.

Enryakuji Temple Lodging (Otsu City)

Recommended Points
  • Shukubo (temple lodging) experience at a temple where you can view National Treasures
  • Zazen and copying sutras experiences are available as options (each for 1,100 yen)
  • Free shuttle bus from the nearest station

It seems you can add Zazen meditation or copying sutras experiences as options to your shukubo experience.

Both experiences are available for 1,100 yen each, and for the copying sutras experience, everything including brush, ink, inkstone, and paper will be provided. Please check the timing at the reception.

The Zazen meditation is scheduled for 11:00 AM for the morning session and 2:30 PM for the afternoon session. Advance reservation is required for Zazen, so please be aware.

From the rooms, large communal bath, and the restaurant where you can enjoy shojin ryori (vegetarian cuisine), you can have a panoramic view of Lake Biwa, and the night view is also highly praised.

Additionally, guests staying here can enjoy free admission to Enryakuji Temple, so don’t forget to inform the pilgrimage sites that you are a guest.

In the vicinity, there are many National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, making it a journey with much to see besides the shukubo experience.

Basic Information about Enryakuji Temple Lodging

NameEnryakuji Temple Lodging (Otsu City)
Postal Code520-0116
Address4220 Sakamoto Honmachi, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Access/Nearest StationFree shuttle bus available from JR “Otsukyo Station”
Opening HoursLodging by reservation
Phone Number077-578-0047
PriceCopying Sutras Experience 1,100 yen
Zazen Experience 1,100 yen
Website ※Japanese Website

Enman-in (Otsu City)

Recommended Points
  • Apart from Zazen, sutra copying, and Buddha copying, you can experience unique activities like tea ceremony and tosenkyo (a game of throwing fans at a target)
  • Affordable plans available
  • Experience as a temple lodging is also available

You can experience various aspects of Japanese culture, such as tea ceremony and tosenkyo, besides Zazen, sutra copying, and Buddha copying.

Each experience costs 2,450 yen, but there’s a special plan where you can choose two experiences for 4,600 yen.

For Zazen, chairs are available for those who are unsure about sitting on the floor.

There’s also a lodging experience, where you can choose two Japanese culture experiences.

There are room-only plans and plans with meals included for dinner and breakfast, choosing between vegetarian cuisine or kaiseki cuisine.

As a lodging bonus, you can participate in the morning service at 7:30 am for free, and also visit the Important Cultural Property designated Chinden and Mitsui’s famous garden for free.

Enman-in, one of only 17 Monzeki temples nationwide, is a temple with a history of about 1,000 years. A Monzeki temple is a temple where members of the imperial family or other distinguished families serve as the head priest.

Basic Information about Enman-in

NameEnman-in (Otsu City)
Postal Code520-0036
Address33 Onjoji-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Access/Nearest Station10 minutes on foot from Keihan Electric Railway “Miidera Station”
Opening HoursBy reservation
Phone Number077-522-3690
PriceZazen, sutra copying, Buddha copying experience
Each 2,450 yen
Website ※English Website

Saijo-in (Otsu City)

Recommended Points
  • Zazen sessions held once a month
  • Good access from the station and parking available
  • The head priest is well-regarded

On the second Sunday, a Zazen session is held as part of the Hoen no Kai.

The sessions typically involve Zazen meditation, a Dharma talk, and prayers.

As dates may change, it is recommended to check the schedule on the official website before visiting.

Although it seems not primarily aimed at tourists, the temple aims to be easily accessible to visitors without any formalities.

During the Naviyaka Festival held in June, there are events such as a temple market with food trucks and dedicatory drum performances.

The temple offers a variety of Goshuin (temple stamps), which can also be purchased by mail.

Basic Information about Saijo-in

NameSaijo-in (Otsu City)
Postal Code520-0113
Address4-1-7 Sakamoto, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Access/Nearest Station9 minutes on foot from Matsunobamba Station on the Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line
Opening HoursSecond Sunday of every month at 11 am
Phone Number077-579-0992
Website ※Japanese Website


Ansho-ji (Otsu City)

Recommended Points
  • Zazen sessions held on Sunday afternoons
  • Open to everyone from beginners to children
  • Short experience time of about 30 minutes, including explanation and Zazen

Zazen sessions are held irregularly on Sundays. You can check the official website for announcements regarding session availability.

In addition to prior reservations, same-day registration is also possible, starting at 12:30 PM, with the session beginning at 1 PM.

The experience lasts about 30 minutes, starting with a 15-minute explanation followed by 15 minutes of Zazen meditation.

Since children can also participate, it could be a valuable experience for families.

While held irregularly, there are also sessions for sutra copying and drawing Buddha images, so those interested should check the official website.

Located near Lake Biwa, it’s a great spot to enjoy along with sightseeing and strolling.

Basic Information about Ansho-ji

NameAnsho-ji (Otsu City)
Postal Code520-0815
Address1-9-15 Zeze, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Access/Nearest Station5 minutes on foot from Zezehommachi Station on the Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line
Opening HoursIrregularly on Sundays
From around 12:30 PM
Phone Number077-523-2693
Price500 yen
Website ※Japanese Website

Miidera Temple (Otsu City)

Recommended Points
  • Various experiences such as Zazen, sutra copying, and Yamabushi available in a very large precinct
  • Reservations are basically required 7 days in advance
  • A valuable temple with many national treasures and cultural properties

Miidera Temple, with a history of over 1200 years, has a vast precinct containing many buildings that include national treasures and cultural properties.

You can experience Zazen meditation in the Kannon-do and Tang-do halls.

Although online reservations are required 7 days in advance, guidance is provided to suit beginners, the elderly, and everyone in between, ensuring that anyone can participate with confidence.

Sutra copying and Buddha drawing experiences are offered at the Kannon-do, Tang-do, and Bimyoji temples. While reservations are required 7 days in advance for Kannon-do and Tang-do,

at Bimyoji, up to 6 people can participate without a reservation from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM.

There are also unique experiences like Yamabushi training, wrist rosary making, and special viewings of the private national treasure Kyakuden.

Furthermore, Myogon-in is opened as a shukubo (temple lodging), offering an exclusive plan of renting out the entire building to a single group per day.

Special experiences, such as special viewings of the national treasure Kyakuden and Zazen, are available exclusively for overnight guests.

With its vast precinct, it seems like you could enjoy a full day here.

Basic Information about Miidera Temple

NameMiidera Temple (Otsu City)
Postal Code520-0036
Address246 Onjoji-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Access/Nearest Station7 minutes on foot from Miidera Station on the Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line
Opening HoursBy reservation
ParkingPaid parking available, 500 yen
Phone Number077-522-2238
PriceZazen & Sutra Copying
1000 yen each
Website ※Japanese Website

Denkoin Temple (Otsu City)

Recommended Points
  • Sutra copying sessions held in the afternoon
  • Good access, within 5 minutes walk from the station
  • Nearby parks and Lake Biwa offer enjoyable strolls

A sutra copying session is held once a month at 1:00 PM.

For those busy in the morning, the afternoon session might be a more accessible time to participate.

With the station within a 5-minute walk, the temple is easily accessible, and nearby spots such as parks on elevated grounds and Lake Biwa are perfect for strolling.

Also, with supermarkets close by, locals could possibly participate in sutra copying sessions in between errands.

Founded in 1560, this historic temple offers a wonderful experience where you can forget the daily hustle and bustle and calm your mind.

Basic Information about Denkoin Temple

NameDenkoin Temple (Otsu City)
Postal Code520-0046
Address1-4-29 Nagara, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Access/Nearest Station4 minutes on foot from Kamieicho Station on the Keihan Keishin Line
Event TimeEvery 4th Monday of the month at 13:00
ParkingCoin parking available nearby
Phone Number077-522-3192
Website ※Japanese Website
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