Experience lifestyle inside a Japanese Temple!
On the quiet island of Suo-Ōshima (commonly known as Ōshima), Otera Cafe (お寺カフェ) may actually be one of the busiest places to visit. As the name suggests, this beautiful cafe is also a Buddhist temple. Its entrance reminds visitors of the traditional Japanese homes where generations before lived or still reside. But this café also has a modern touch; remodeled and opened in 2014, the soothing lighting brings out the sparkle in the building’s woodwork which sits well with the sharp contrast of the black interior furniture. It’s no surprise with the awe of the interior and service that Otera Café won the Good Design Award in 2015 for its positive contribution to the regional community – for its utilization of space that otherwise sat empty – and turning it into a place of gathering and education.
What can I experience at Japanese Buddhist Temple?
The hosts at Otera Café showed true traditional hospitality of Japanese nature. From the moment I walked in, a staff member greeted me kindly and took my luggage into an empty room for storage. She guided me through the long hallways, explaining the history of the temple and its Buddhist ties while introducing me to the little library, the prayer room, and the humble, yet grand, dining area. The library consists of domestic and international books, some appropriate for children and others for scholars, about Buddhist tales, history, and practices. The books are also for sale.
Dine at a temple in Japan.
In the dining room, I sat by the window seat on a cushion atop the tatami floor, overlooking the small zen garden in the backyard. The menu was explained to me in great detail and care by a host, as a way to teach guests about the culture of Buddhist cuisine and tea ceremony traditions. The café serves obanzai, which is what vegetarian Buddhist cuisine is called. It consists of simple, balanced, and delicious items. After the meal, Japanese sweets and freshly brewed tea complete these meals.
Try traditional Buddhist Japanese food. Buddhist Japanese food is great for vegetarians!
An avocado and mountain potato, tororo imo, rice bowl with a light soup and side.
Green tea with vanilla ice cream and sweet red beans (under the tea).
Can I try Japanese calligraphy on a budget? Try Japanese calligraphy for only ¥1500!
Otera Café is not only a place for a tranquil dining. With a mission to educate visitors about Japanese and Buddhist cultures, the temple has turned into a hub where visitors can try their hand at unlikely experiences. To name a few, visitors can participate in a traditional tea ceremony, learn how to arrange flowers in Japanese ikebana style, or even take part in yoga. I chose to try shakyo, an old custom of hand-copying sutras using brush and ink.
I was taken by the shakyo teacher to the prayer room, where I first followed her instructions in saying a few different prayers, spraying incense, and walking around in a specific order. Afterwards, I sat down to concentrate on copying the sutra by hand. Using a brush to write kanji is most definitely harder than it sounded!
I took about 45 minutes, though the teacher said some people take more time to finish. As part of Buddhist beliefs, it’s important to be patient, and to face every task with care and full awareness. Participants each get to choose their own prayer to complete the sutra at the end; some choices include prayer in family health, wealth, love, or children. I chose to complete mine with a prayer to honor my ancestors and the health of my family. For any of you who are familiar with Buddhism, the long sutra written during this experience is the same as when we hear “Om,” it’s just much longer.
Upon completing the shakyo writing, the teacher and I said another prayer, and afterwards, the participants have the choice of either taking the new written work home with them or leaving it at the shrine to be read out loud by the temple’s Buddhist practitioner, obõsan, at the next prayer gathering.
All the experiences are followed by a pot of tea and time to relax and reflect in the dining area of Otera Café. On Ōshima, buses only run every few hours and I had about an hour until my bus arrived. The hosts at the café kindly gave me directions and information I needed to get to the bus stop and my next destination, and kept filling up my pot of tea while I continued to relax at the café. As the time for my bus approached, I thanked the hosts and the temple and started walking towards my destination.
A few meters down the road, a tiny car honked and stopped by my side. Inside were two ladies I recognized as fellow guests at the Otera Café. Seeing me walking on a deserted street with my travel backpack, they offered me a ride halfway to my destination. In a country like Japan – especially in the genuinely hospitable countryside – this is a safe and kind offer. So I rode with them for about ten minutes, chatting about my travels and the differences of our countries and cities. They even looked up the following bus stop for me so I could find my way. When I finally got out of their car, they gifted me a bag full of the local clementines, mikan, for me to take on the road. I thanked them, truly grateful for the kindness and peace this island gave me. The people and experiences I faced here were just as sweet as the clementines I ate as I waited to go on my next adventure.
This sunset bid me goodbye from Ōshima island.
Otera Café: Jugenji-temple
Website (Japanese and English): http://www.otera-cafe.com/english-top
Address: 587 Yura Suo-ohshima-cho, Yamaguchi-ken
Hours: Wed thru Fri 11:00~16:00, Sat & Sun 12:30~17:00, closed Mon & Tue
Give us your Like
Iwakuni Castle & Lucky White Snakes!
by Rainbow Sake
Nina is a professional and recreational writer currently exploring her motherland of Japan. When she's not busy working on her upcoming conversational English book, she can be spotted biking around Tokyo to indulge in delicious food and attempting to snuggle with kitties at cat cafés. She's an odd collector of free brochures from travel counters, always looking for the next exciting destination. Nina often likes to escape the Tokyo city life to go discover new trails on the outbacks of Japan, where she enjoys connecting with locals and wanderers alike.
> Speaking of Setouchi, the must-eat item is seafood! – A selection of 7 spots where you can try fresh seafood.
> A selection of 7 cafes and restaurants in Setouchi with superb scenery and views of the sea.
> A tranquil garden full of Japanese beauty and a huge carpet of green moss. / Gallery Teahouse Kokemushiro (Seiyo-shi, Ehime)
> 3 places for barhopping in Yokogawawhich carefully selected by a “hard-drinking” writer / Nice Yukari, Gohan-ya Haru-chan, and Trois Copain
> Please fully enjoy local sake brewed in Tokushima at the shop where you can “buy and drink.” / Taro Saketen (Tokushima-shi, Tokushima)
> A century-old Japanese house which an Onomichi merchant used as a villa has been renovated for accommodation. / The house rental “Kujira Bekkan” (Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima)
> An inn where you can find “ordinary Kobe” / Guesthouse MAYA (Kobe-shi, Hyogo)
> This could be the best choice for your stay in Awajishima! How about having a family trip while staying at a hot spring resort where you can get a great ocean view? / Hotel New Awaji Group (Sumoto-shi, Hyogo)
> Come and see, rail fans! A new base for a circular sightseeing tour in Shikoku, which is produced by JR SHIKOKU./ 4S STAY Awaikeda Sta.(Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima)
> Books, a bar, and international exchange!? 3 selections of hotel and guesthouses which have attractive little perks in the center of Hiroshima / (KIRO Hiroshima -THE SHARE HOTELS-, EN HIROSHIMA, and 36HOSTEL)
> Visit historic spots in the city center of Hiroshima on foot and learn about the history of peace (Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima)
> This is the ultimate soothing trip – feel the sense and the heart of Japan in Uchiko Town and Ozu City in Ehime.
> Beauty exists in every detailed corner of your eyesight! 8 spots where you can see wonderful views of Setouchi and its beautiful islands.
> Visiting the well-known “power spots” where mystical energy flows! This northern drive route visits temples, shrines, and cultural heritage sites in Tottori, Shimane, and Yamaguchi
> A continual stream of natural beauty which will make your heart tremble! The eastern drive route covers the best viewing spots in Okayama, Hyogo, and Tokushima
> Let’s enjoy a liberating new Setouchi voyage by “SEA SPICA”!
> The last report on the shipbuilding of “SEA SPICA,” the high-speed sightseeing cruiser for island hopping in Setouchi -Vol.5. STU48 members attended the launching ceremony. / West Japan Railway Company 【PR】
> A report on the shipbuilding of “SEA SPICA,” the high-speed sightseeing cruiser for island hopping in Setouchi -Vol.4. STU48 members paint the ship’s logo! / West Japan Railway Company 【PR】
> A report on the merging of the superstructure and the base of “SEA SPICA,” the high-speed sightseeing cruiser for island hopping in Setouchi Vol.3 by members of STU48 / West Japan Railway Company 【PR】
> A report on the shipbuilding of “SEA SPICA,” the high-speed sightseeing cruiser for island hopping in Setouchi. Vol.2 shows you the “Reversal Procedure” where the ship is turned over. / West Japan Railway Company 【PR】
> Shimanami Kaido - Cyclist's Paradise
> Onomichi U2 and the Giant Store – the perfect partners for enjoying the Shimanami Kaidō
> Eating, Cycling & Getting Warm : Akiyoshidai Karst Road (Mine City, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
> Kasaoka Island Hopping by Bike : A perfect 2-day trip! (Okayama)
> A Rare Lighthouse & Spelunking!? Traversing Ogijima by Bicycle! (Ogi, Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture)
> “ONOMARU SHOUTEN” is the shop which has all of Onomichi’s fascinations. / JR Onomichi Ekisha (Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima)
> Kobe Shopping: 3 Distinct Local Brands to Bring Home（Kobe, Hyogo）【PR】
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
> “Meika Shitatsuzumi, ”a Japanese sweet from Yamaguchi which is soft, pleasant and melty on your tongue / San-in-do (Yamaguchi-shi, Yamaguchi)
> Let’s enjoy taking a walk down the shopping street near Matsuyama Castle./Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street (Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture)
See more articles about "Gourmet"GourmetList
Kobe City Himeji City Amagasaki City Akashi City Nishinomiya City Sumoto City Ashiya City Itami City Aioi City Toyooka City Kakogawa City Ako City Nishiwaki City Takarazuka City Miki City Takasago City Kawanishi City Ono City Mita City Kasai City Sasayama City Yabu City Tanba City Minamiawaji City Asago City Awaji City Shiso City Kato City Tatsuno City Inagawa Taka Inami Harima Ichikawa Fukusaki Kamikawa Taishi Kamigori Sayo Kami Shinonsen
- Okayama Pref.
- Hiroshima Pref.
- Yamaguchi Pref.
- Tokushima Pref.
- Kagawa Pref.
- Ehime Pref.