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If you are interested in real Japanese culture, let ‘s experience Zen Meditation and Japanese culture in a Zen Meditation Retreat set a temple of 670 years old.
from Japan, July 2020
"Zen Home stay "
Yodo Kono and his family were warm and welcoming which made my stay incredibly fulfilling.
Dax Janel Valencia
from Philippines, February 2020
"Amazen (✌🏾👌🏾) way to get your zen on"
Everything, starting from the train ride itself, which I took from Hakata to Beppu. The short, two-and-a-half-hour-trip on the blue machine already afforded me great views of Oita’s landscapes.
Yodo-san himself, as well as his family, is accommodating and very welcoming. I did kinda feel like I was part of the family. Yodo-san’s wealth of knowledge - not just in buddhism, but in various other topics - made every conversation we had interesting and informative.
The room I got was pretty spacious, and I loved the sliding doors that opened up to the small garden. You could even see part of the mountains (to the right) and the sea (to the left) from inside the room.
The daily meals are a perfect example of that saying about dining like kings, queens, and paupers... What I loved about it most though is that Yodo-san not only taught me the recipes — he let me use the kitchen, hands-on. 👌🏾🙏🏾
I got my zen on pretty much from the very start, what with the temple and the guest house being situated in a calm, serene, and quiet neighborhood. I’m pretty sure anyone can shush the “noisy voices from within” in such a relaxing atmosphere.
All the leisurely rides I took with Yodo-san’s bike were also worth it. I guess it also helped burn all those carbs from feasting like a king, haha.
The extra activities — calligraphy, tea ceremony, and kimono prep — were also eye-opening experiences for me.
You gotta try all of them to know what I’m talking about.
from United States, January 2020
"A great experience"
The mediation experience, which included guidance and practice, was the highlight for me. It was complemented by other activities which were of high quality. The latter include calligraphy, tea ceremony, onsen visits, interaction with the local temple community, insightful and fun conversation, and more.
from United States, January 2020
They bring you a in a treat you like family.
from Italy, January 2020
Yodo’s family is just wonderful. It was such a beautiful experience for my first meditation retreat. The warm and kindness of a multigenerational Japanese family, the peace of a beautiful old temple, and the discovery of the very rich Japanese culture and food. Very close to Beppu town for onsen and sand bath experience too.
from Australia, December 2019
"A spacious stay in Oita with lots of free time"
Beautiful food, very nice host, and an incredible temple to meditate in each morning. This is not luxury living, it is a zen lifestyle. Overall very good value for money.
from India, December 2019
Energies of the place. Friendliness of the environment. Quietness
from France, November 2019
"A good way to disconnect"
Yodo and his family are lovely and caring people. Food prepared every day was a feast! Calm and peaceful location with touristic places around.
from Senegal, November 2019
"A great introduction to Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture"
- Yodo and his family are super nice and welcoming.
- You can learn as much about Zen Buddhism as you wish. Yodo is very keen to answer any questions and give advice.
- Despite being a Buddhist monk, Yodo also knows about "modern lifestyle" so he is able to give practical advice regarding leading a Zen lifestyle.
- Prepare and eat healthy Japanese food.
- The house is in a very peaceful town and close enough to a city (Beppu).
from Netherlands, October 2019
I had a very good time, learned about zen meditation and zen culture and had also fun doing the activities like the tea ceremony, calligraphy and visit to the Osen. Yodo and his family are very nice and relaxed.The house near the temple was comfortable and the food was amazing! I also liked the small quiet town overlooking the ocean. I will go back if I have the change! Thanks a lot
Alban Le Vallois
from Hong Kong, October 2019
"Perfect introduction to Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture"
- Truly warm welcoming from Yodo and his whole family. Thank you again for everything
- Daily morning meditation
- Books provided and recommended by Yodo: great readings really
- Times for discussion and introduction of Zen Buddhism
- Being taken into a zen-living routine/lifestyle: This taught me much more about how you can actually live a life in zen attitude and habits, and tend to deepen that everyday, without necessarily devoting your entire life to meditation
- Introduction to japanese culture through various proposed activies such as visiting onsen, tea ceremony, calligraphy, and how this also echoes with Zen principles
- Free time also allowing for self cultivation, reading and discovering the beautiful area
from Israel, October 2019
"Wonderful and unique experience in a beautiful location"
We practiced zen and mindfulness through meditation, travel, amazing food and basically through everything we did. It was an inspiring and meaningful experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to take a deep breath and get a new perspective on life. Thanks Yodo for welcoming me to your wonderful family and home 🙏 I hope to be back soon!
from Germany, October 2019
"Authentic experience in Japan "
I had a great experience at Zen Meditationretreat. From the hospitality of the whole family to the amazing food and the authentic way of living in a Japanese village. Even though I had to change my dates Yodo was very cooperative. If you want to experience something special I highly recommend going. Thanks again to Yodo, his wife and his mother!
from Russia, September 2019
Possibility to have conversation with Yodo about the meaning of zen ++ and about Japanese culture in general.
The food was incredible , and the location really calm.
Very relaxing time
from Japan, September 2019
This experience exceeded my expectations. Kodo and his family were kind, warm and welcoming, the experience was authentic, and the food was amazing. I agree with all of the previous rave reviews, and would add only a few points:
- this was a unique blend of zen meditation practice and Japanese cultural experience, both traditional and contemporary.
- Yodo and his family were careful to always provide delicious vegetarian food options for me, even when I was the only vegetarian guest.
Thank you to Yodo, Keiko and Michiko for an unforgettable experience!
from Great Britain, September 2019
Being briefly welcomed into Yodo’s family is a special and humbling experience. The food is incredible - from a magical source, I am sure. It’s a lovely and chilled time. The days are kept carefully full but not busy. The temple has a beautiful garden for morning mediation. Yodo’s channels Xenia wholeheartedly with the way he looks after your every need. Thank you!
from Great Britain, September 2019
"A Retreat That Felt Like Home. "
From the moment I began correspondence with Yodo, he was very accommodating in everything we discussed. My arrival plans were constantly changing, but he stayed on top of my emails and collected me from the train station at my requested time.
I arrived just before lunchtime, and he sat me down with his lovely wife Keiko for a deliciously fresh meal of Udon.
From then til now, it has been a beautiful experience overall. The hospitality and geniality shown by Yodo, Keiko and Yodo’s mother has been above an beyond what one could expect.
The meditation practise, beginning at 0630 each morning, centres and grounds your day. From then, it is usually followed by a cup of fresh tea prepared by Yodo’s mother Michiko, then a simple breakfast of brown rice porridge and umoboshi plum.
The days have been graced by calligraphy lessons, onsen and sand-bath visits, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and a visit to a local bamboo crafts-woman’s store in Beppu.
The food has been astoundingly good, with fresh fish and local produce a regular.
It is the kind of place I will return to for many years to come, and happily bring my family and friends to share in what is a humble, honest and genuinely striking insight into the lives of Yodo and his family.
This is not just a meditation retreat, but a life retreat where you learn how the Zen way extends beyond zazen practise and into the reaches of everyday life.
from United States, September 2019
"5 Days of Waking Up"
Yodo was a fantastic host, he went out of his way to make sure I was comfortable and was very knowledgeable about the ways of zen and offered books to help me learn more on my own and was always willing to answer questions. His wife and mother also contributed greatly to my learning about Japanese culture and arts even working through a language barrier; teaching me about Calligraphy and the tea ceremony. The patience of everyone involved and willingness to share Japanese culture made the experience really something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
from Great Britain, August 2019
"Relaxing retreat and zen/Japan experience"
Yodo and his family were so kind and welcoming and accomodating to everyone's needs/interests. The language barrier was not an issue as while both Yodo and his wife spoke some English, they also had a brilliant hand held translation device!
The retreat was very relaxing but with the opportunity to do a range of traditional activities, such as calligraphy and a tea ceremony at very very reasonable cost.
The food was amazing. It felt like we had a feast for lunch and dinner. Yodo's wife is an excellent cook! I also had the chance to help with the cooking and so i plan to recreate Japanese food at home.
The temple and location are beautiful, with lush countryside and top rated hot spring baths (onsen) nearby that you can visit. Yodo also took us to the summer festival at the nearby town and an earthquake experience machine at the local school.
As well as the meditation and teaching of japanese culture and the foundations of zen philosophy, there are also a number of books in English that you can read, and Yodo was always happy to answer any questions.
The retreat gave a great insight into japanese culture in a way that you could never experience as a standard tourist.
Overall a great way to escape the chaos of everyday life and learn something new in a relaxing place with great food.
Very comfortable and clean accomodation also.
Thank you Yodo and family for a brilliant time - I hope to visit again on my next trip to Japan :-)
from Ireland, July 2019
I really appreciated the way I was included in all the day to day activities of the family, the local supporters of the Temple and of temple life. It was a unique insight into Japanese and Zen culture. I would have stayed gladly for another few days. I was treated with great care and attention at all times especially on my birthday
from Hong Kong, July 2019
"Perfect to enjoy peace and get to know the Japanese culture"
Yodo was an incredible host, his guest house is nice and peacefull as well as the surrounding village. His family is lovely and his wife's cooking is the very best ! Big thanks to them ! Do not hesitate to go there if you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy an authentic Japanese experience, while learning or improving your meditation skills :-)
from Israel, June 2019
"Unforgettable zen meditation retreat in Toyooka."
Yodo was kind & friendly and took care of us beyond the meditation retreat. He was flexible about changing a little the day schedule and took us to trips outside Toyooka to explore the beautiful area around.
from Great Britain, June 2019
"Just what I needed "
The whole experience was just brilliant, Yodo was waiting for me when my train arrived and rushed to help with my bags. He then drove me to the guest house and cooked a meal. All the food was delicious and home cooked, this really is a taste of living in Japan. The Meditation sessions are perfect although the first outdoor one I had to conquer my inner zen as I had a bee buzzing around. Tea with Yodo’s mother is an absolute treat and then breakfast. The morning work is very easy and more tea. Lots of relaxation time if you want or Yodo will drive you to the local Onsen’s, Sand Bath (very hot!) Volcano and hiking. The little town is worth walking around very pretty and abundant with flowering Hydrengea’s. I slept soundly and after the first morning my ankles and hips got used to sitting. I highly recommend this retreat Yodo and his forever smiling wife Keiko make you feel part of the family! Thank you Yodo, Keiko & Michiko - Yodo’s mother, a Professor of Tea Ceremony
from United States, May 2019
"A beautiful Japanese experience"
This experience was beyond my expectations. I sat down with locals who were visiting the temple and have tea with them regardless of language barrier, experienced prayer ceremonies, sat in on a tea ceremony, and explored Oita and neighboring towns. Yodo and his family are extremely kind, it didn’t only feel like a zen meditation retreat, but like a homestay.
Meals are home cooked, plentiful, and delicious. I always stayed full. The dishes are far better than any Japanese restaurant I've tried in the USA. It was also very nice to help prepare meals sometimes with Yodo’s wife, who's always smiling and laughing.
The small town of Oita is a peaceful place to relax and experience traditional Japanese culture. Just outside of the temple and the guesthouse are beautiful views of the ocean, the mountains, gardens and small farmlands as well as Japanese architecture homes. During free time, just walking in the neighborhood is site-seeing; a few steps away are small rice field, plenty of wild flower gardens, and a short walk to the ocean.
Many say that Japan is an expensive country to visit, but the price of this experience at Yodo’s temple and guesthouse is a huge bargain. I traveled solo(female) to the retreat and missed my bus stop by a few stops; Yodo told me to wait there and picked me up. If there are any hesitation on booking this retreat, put it aside, you will be taken care of. Your stay will also help support maintaining the 650+ year old temple. I hope to return soon.
from United States, April 2019
"Excellent Retreat for Stressed out Corporate Folks"
I am a finance professional that has been working a high-stress job for many years without a vacation. Spending a week with Yodo and his family and meditating with at his temple was a god send for my physical and mental well-being. From early morning guided meditation sessions, to freshly home-cooked Japanese meals, to calligraphy classes and tea ceremonies, this retreat affords the opportunity to really get away from it all and immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture.
I want to especially highlight the kindness and expertise of Yodo, a trained Zen priest. I was interested in exploring meditation and learning more about eastern philosophy as it pertains to stress management. I fondly remember sitting with Yodo at his kitchen table, communicating over a Google Translate application over the finer points of zen meditation and inner peace. Yodo is a kind, patient, knowledgeable teacher, and even after the retreat I'm applying many of his lessons to my every day life.
Kim Ter Hedde
from Japan, April 2019
"The real Japan"
I really felt at home at the guesthouse. I enjoyed learning about Japanse culturele and Zen meditation. Yodo is an excellent host. He took me to the onsen and all the other activities like a nice concert in the temple and a prayer for the deceased at the peoples home. Also the calligraphy lesson bij Keiko was very nice. It was an experience I will never forget and I'm very thankful for having been a part of the Kono family for a few days.
from United States, April 2019
"Excellent Experience in Oita"
Yodo and his family are very kind and accommodating. I came to Japan for two weeks and my trip to Oita was the highlight of my trip. We conducted Zen meditation in the morning, did temple work, and then explored southern Japan in the afternoon. If you are looking for a get-away from crazy city living, this experience allows you experience beautiful scenery and quiet. It is located in Hiji Town, next to Beppu and Oita (hosting the Rugby World Cup this year). Come with a clear expectation of what you want and Yodo will make that happen. I emphasize that this experience will be what you want it to be. The food was cooked by Yodo's wife and it was absolutely amazing. Authentic, healthy Japanese food and they will accommodate your eating preferences as they did for me. I highly recommend this retreat, as a solo-traveler and as a group as well.