I'm looking for long and serious meditation retreats in Japan, at least 7 days (to 15/30 days). I know about Shukubo's but they appear more like a holiday with 2-3 hours of meditation, and most I found seemed commercial (charging much more than what a non-profit would).

I know about Goenka Vipassana obviously, but would be surprised if there are absolutely no other options with daily 7-8 hours of meditation for a week or more given that Buddhism is widespread in Japan.

EDIT: After @jpatokal's answer: While english instructions is definitely a plus, I'm happy to know about centers with Japanese only instructions too.

  • Just a small nitpick, "Shinto is the largest religion in Japan, practiced by nearly 80% of the population" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinto)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 3:10
  • 1
    @MarkMayo Pretty major "nit" actually. Thanks for the correction. I rephrased my question so as not to propagate false information.
    – 0fnt
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 3:19
  • 5
    Actually, according to a famous survey, Japan is 80% Shinto and 80% Buddhist... Commented May 4, 2015 at 5:31

1 Answer 1


I presume you're looking specifically for English-language retreats, which narrows your options significantly; Japan may have a lot of temples, but it doesn't have all that many that can run a week-long course in a foreign language. (Even if the vast majority of that course involves complete silence!)

But have no fear, Wikivoyage's Meditation in Japan is here, and suggests the following:

  • Sogenji, Okayama. Week-long sesshins in English several times a year.
  • Toshoji, Tokyo. 5-day retreats twice a year.

Poking around on the Soto Zen website's list of temples open to foreign visitors may also find something interesting.

  • Thanks. English is definitely great, though I'd like to know about Japanese language centers too if you already know about them.
    – 0fnt
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 13:17
  • So I checked out more and Sogenji Sesshins are only for meditators who commit themselves indefinitely. You can not attend a single Sogenji Sesshin.
    – 0fnt
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 7:31

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