Zen Meditation Classes in English for Your Daliy Life

Scroll Painting of Dharma by Ryōnan and Sesson in the 16th Century at Shunkōin Temple

Zen Meditaion & Tour   (about 90 minutes)

  • Reception
  • Instruction   5 minutes
  • Two 15-minute Meditations
  • Tour of Shunkōin   30 minutes
  • Maccha Green Tea and Japanese Sweet

Please check Temple Schedule before you come to the temple.

Time  Everyday

  • 9:00-10:30 (no reservation required)
  • 10:40-12:10 (a group of more than 10 people and reservation required)
  • 13:30-15:00 (a group of more than 10 people and reservation required)


  • 2500 yen (including sales tax)

Zen Meditation Class  (about 60 minutes)

  • Instruction
  • Two 15-munites Zen meditation sessions

Time  Everyday

  • 9:00-10:00 (no reservation required)
  • 10:40-11:40 (a group of more than 10 people and reservation required)
  • 13:30-14:30 (a group of more than 10 people and reservation required)


  • 1500 yen (including sales tax)

Please check Shunkoin Today (Temple Schedule) before you come to the temple.

Shunkoin Temple offers Zen meditation classes and temple tours in English daily at 9:00, 10:40, and 13:30. The American-educated vice abbot will lead you in the basics of Zen meditation, followed by a tour of the temple. During the class, you will not only receive instruction on the basics of meditation and experience it within the temple setting, but you will also learn how to incorporate Zen philosophy into your daily life. The main tenant of Zen is meditation. Through sitting and focusing on breathing, you are able to bring yourself to the moment and detach yourself from previous knowledge and preconception. The goal is to eventually reach a state of transcendence and to realize the fundamental non-permanence of being. This means interacting with the world without consciousness of self, of categorization, or discrimination, in other words, as a newborn infant sees the world.

You will also discover how Buddhism, Shinto, Confucianism, and even Christianity interact and function in Japanese society. While Shunkoin is known today as primarily a Zen Buddhist temple, its history illustrates how different belief systems were also a major part of religious practice in premodern society. For example, the Garden of Boulders (Sazareishi no Niwa) was designed to symbolize the Grand Shinto Shrine of Ise, the site patronized by the Japanese imperial family. Christian elements are seen in the temple`s 1577 bronze bell (formerly housed at one of the earliest Christian churches in Japan, Nanbanji) that carries the Jesuit insignia, as well as intriguing images found on some of the temple’s screen paintings by Kano Eigaku.

Shunkoin itself was established in 1590 by Yoshiharu Horio, a daimyo (feudal lord) during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The current building was rebuilt in the eighteenth century. The temple played a key role in the spread of Japanese Zen Buddhism in the early twentieth century, as well-known Zen scholars such as Dr. Hoseki Shin’ichi Hisamatsu and D.T. Suzuki came here to discuss both Western and Japanese philosophy.

You will learn more about the history of Shunkoin during your unforgettable experience in the relaxed and warm atmosphere of the temple.

This Zen experience course is recommended by the Japan Times newspaper.
"It's Hands-On in Kyoto" by PERRIN LINDELAUF

Zen Membership

If you become a member of our Zen meditation class, you can join our weekly meditation class (Every Saturday, 9:00-10:30 AM).

The membership fee is 10000 yen/ 6 months.

Rev.Takafumi Kawakami
Director of International Affairs
B.A. of Religious Study at Arizona State University
Delegate to the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program's Seattle 2008 Conference

Phone:  075-462-5488
International: +81.75.462.5488
Email:  Rev.Taka.Kawakami@gmail.com

Reverend Takafumi Kawakami is a Kyoto native whose family has a long history at Shunkoin. He spent eight years in the United States working and obtaining his degree in religious studies and psychology. He is currently a member of the United States Japan Leadership Program by the United States EJapan Foundation and is involved in international human rights issues.

To Make A Reservation

If you would like to book your class, please call or email us in English.
The staying-guests at Shunkoin Temple are entitled to get a 1000-yen discount.

Phone:  (075)462-5488 (domestic)   +81.75.462.5488 (international)
Email:  Rev.Taka.Kawakami@gmail.com

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