Terahaku to Offer Rooms for Rent in Buddhist Temples

Terahaku, a brand new service, will enable tourists visiting Japan to search and reserve online secure places to stay in one of the many Japanese Buddhist temples. This is now possible as Tokyo has amended its Residential Lodging Business Law. The law will take effect from June 15. Tourists can book hotels starting from the same date.

This new law permits Buddhist temples in Japan to provide accommodation to visitors via Terahaku. The service structure is extremely like Airbnb. Travelers opting for temple stay can enjoy extra perks like experiencing traditional Buddhist temple life. These options are not new but were difficult to locate in the past due to traditional views of temples.

Terahaku plans to be the Airbnb of temple tourism. Visitors booking through the website can choose the date to sleep the night in Buddhist establishments. A few Japanese temples have offered accommodations for a while now. They are known as shukubo. These units were basic, offering a place to spend the night. The cuisine in such places is invariably vegetarian Buddhist and the primary clientele was pilgrims. A few adventure-minded tourists also stayed in such spartan establishments.

Terahaku's parent company is Waqoo Co., a tourism company functioning out of Osaka. The company has inked partnerships with Booking.com and Airbnb. This will enable users to search listings and make reservations. All these can be done in English. Rates per night are expected to be in the region of 10,000 yen to 20,000 yen. The Terahaku website will begin with a listing of almost 100 temples where a visitor can spend the night. The crown of listings is Mii-dera near Kyoto. It is a well-known Buddhist complex. As per the company, it will increase the accommodation choices to 1,000 temples within a three-year period.

Other than accommodation, some temples will provide a unique insight into Buddhism and its lifestyle. A few will offer guests the coveted chance to try sutra writing, early morning prayers, zazen meditation and Buddhist cuisine. A spokesperson for Waqoo said, “Terahaku aims to help tourists understand traditional Japanese culture and history.”

Terahaku is not the only company to come up with novel solutions like this one. It is one of the many companies which have come up to satisfy the looming bed shortage which will invariably plague the scheduled 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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