Zen at Zenpoji

“To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.” – Dōgen Zenji, founder of the Sōtō school of Zen

Experience Outline

Discover the mindful skills of Zen by joining the Zenpoji monks in their daily practices.

Experience Details

Zenpoji has a unique affinity with the sea and the Shonai region has prospered from this sacred connection to the ocean. The temple has benefited from centuries of investment by the local community, and has developed a character unique among Zen temples, influenced by nature worship in the nearby Dewa Sanzan mountains.

Under the guidance of the Zen monks, with the support of your interpreter, you will seek a mindset of stillness and focus. Through seated meditation (zazen), brush calligraphy, and chanting, you have the opportunity to find stillness and strength of mind applicable in your daily life.

Even your lunch is a unique opportunity not only to try traditional Shojin cuisine, but to participate in the Zen mealtime rituals practiced by the monks for centuries. Sharing in the everyday activities at Zenpoji is a chance for your to draw from a millennia of Zen experience and distill the relevance and mindfulness into your modern life.


10:30 – 14:30 (4 hours)


Zenpoji monk guide, Japanese to English interpreter, traditional Zen style lunch, materials for calligraphy.


Local Advice

Zenpoji is a place of worship and as such we advise participants to wear modest clothing in muted colours. We recommend loose, comfortable clothes (no skirts) as you will be sitting cross-legged on the floor (chairs available for those who need them). The monks at Zenpoji conduct much of their activity in silence, so we would ask participants to refrain from talking in the main areas, and to speak softly when necessary.

Minimum Participants



Eiji Shinozaki

Yuichi Otomo

Ryuhei Abe

Ryuko Ueno




The cancellation policy can be found here.

Health and Safety

Please note that those with vegetarian or vegan diets cannot currently be catered for. The monks observe a simple, largely plant-based diet, but dashi and katsuo are used in their meals.

Meeting Spot

Getting Here

Transport is not included. Zenpoji is best accessed by private car or taxi. It is a 15-20 minute drive from central Tsuruoka.

Meeting Spot

Zenpoji Temple, Sekine-100 Shimogawa, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-1117, Japan

Finishing Spot

Zenpoji Temple, Sekine-100 Shimogawa, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-1117, Japan


Make an inquiry.

Producer and provider

Megurun Inc.

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Trek with Yamabushi: Winter in Haguro 

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Yabase, Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan

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Megurun aims to support sustainable rural communities. To achieve these aims, we gained a travel agency license registered with the governor of Yamagata Prefecture: Region 282.