Become a guest at a working temple in Mount Koya – the home of Shingon Buddhism.
Thick with cedar forests and ancient temples, Wakayama Prefecture's holy mountain is perhaps the ultimate destination for those in search of a spiritual escape. Make the pilgrimage to the UNESCO world heritage site and home of Shingon Buddhism and you'll find over 120 temples, many of which offer guest lodgings.
One of the major branches of Japanese Buddhism, Shingon Buddhism spread from Northern India to Tibet, Java, China and eventually Japan over a millennium ago in the eighth century.
Choose your shukubo (temple lodgings) carefully and you'll get the chance to take part in ajikan, an esoteric strain of Buddhist meditation, practice calligraphy, observe resident monks as they go about their daily rituals, and best of all – enjoy specially-prepared plates of seasonal vegan delicacies.