Kakurinbo is a historic Buddhist temple guesthouse, or shukubo, located in the foothills of Mt. Fuji and easily accessible from Tokyo. It is part of one of a number of satellite temples belonging to Kuonji, the head temple and spiritual center of the Buddhist Nichiren Shu sect. At Kakurinbo, we offer a traditional temple environment, exquisite cuisine, a warm welcome, and peace of mind in an area steeped in religious history.
Kakurinbo is part of Gyogakuin, the main sub-temple of Kuonji. It is located in Minobusan, a mountain village in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo. Gyogakuin was founded by Nitcho Daishonin, who served as the 11th head priest of Kuonji from 1462 to 1499 and was responsible for the area’s religious revival.
No visit to Minobusan would be complete without an excursion to Kuonji, the headquarters of the Nichiren Shu sect of Japanese Buddhism. The magnificent temple compound sits high above Minobusan village, perched within the mountains and surrounded by forest. Climbing the 287 steep steps to the temple is a Buddhist practice in itself.
Kuonji was founded in 1274 by Nichiren Shonin, who firmly believed that the Lotus Sutra best conveys the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. The sutra is "Namu myo-ho ren-ge kyo," and to this day the chant can be heard daily throughout Minobusan.
Daily prayer services at Kuonji are open to the public. The noontime service is at 12:00 and the evening service at 15:00. However, it is the morning service that is highly recommended, as it begins with the first light spreading slowly across the mountains.
The shukubo within our temple was originally established to accommodate visiting priests and novice monks. Today, Kakurinbo offers a place of relaxation for visitors and worshipers alike while maintaining a traditional environment.
Kakurinbo is one of the oldest shukubo in the Minobusan area and one of the very few to have retained its traditional structure and décor. All rooms are separated only by fusuma, a style of sliding door. Fusuma allow for various party sizes to be accommodated by simply opening or closing the doors to adjoining rooms.
Kakurinbo is built around an elegant garden and koi pond designed by Muso Kokushi (1275-1351), a famed Zen master, calligraphist, poet and landscape gardener. As such, the garden is now recognized as a local cultural asset. Kakurinbo’s dining room and many of its guestrooms look out onto the garden.
Kakurinbo houses two large baths that are filled daily and scented with wine bath salts produced locally in the Koshu Wine Valley. During busy periods both baths are used on a communal basis. However, the baths are usually available for private use by our guests. Shampoo, conditioner and body soap are complimentary. However, please note that bath towels are not provided. Guests are encouraged to bring their own. Bath towels are available for rent.
There are numerous restrooms and washing areas conveniently located on the first and second floors. All guests are provided with yukata robes for use as eveningwear and pajamas.
Minobu is famous for yuba tofu, an essential part of the Buddhist vegetarian diet. At Kakurinbo, we take pride in the generous use of yuba in our cuisine. Our beautifully crafted kaiseki dishes rely heavily on seasonal ingredients, allowing diners to enjoy the varying flavors of Japan’s four seasons. In addition, our menu includes Akebono soybeans, which are unique to the Minobu area.
In addition to dinner, a traditional breakfast is available for overnight guests. We also offer a lunchtime menu at weekends and during the holidays.
Please note that although our cuisine is predominantly vegetarian, certain seafood products are occasionally used. Please let us know beforehand if you have any particular dietary requirements.
Kakurinbo offers various alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including an extensive selection of Yamanashi wines and locally produced sake and fruit-based soft drinks. Beverages and desserts can be ordered to the room.
Gyogakuin Kakurinbo was established by the priest Nitcho Daishonin, who was famed for his ability to heal diseases of the eye. Today he is known as a deity associated with both education and eyesight.
Tea made from a blend of honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, green tea and extracts of choja, a tree traditionally associated with eye medicine.
Eye drops made with the miraculous water of Mt. Minobu and following in the tradition of Nitcho Daishonin. They are effective in cleansing and purifying the eyes.
Kakurinbo is easily accessible by train, car or bus from Tokyo and the Kansai western Japan region.
The nearest train station is Minobu on the Minobu Line, which runs between Kofu and Shizuoka. From Minobu Station take the local bus to Minobusan, the last stop. Kakurinbo is a 10-minute walk from the bus station. Alternatively, catch a taxi from the train station.
There are six or seven express buses daily between Shinjuku Bus Terminal in Tokyo and Minobusan bus station. Reservations can be made by phone or online. The journey takes about 3.5 hours and costs 2,900 yen one way.
Kakurinbo is open all year round. Each season in Minobu is distinct and each has its own attraction—cherry blossoms in spring, fireflies in summer, autumn colors in the fall and snow-covered mountains in winter.
Please refrain from attending morning prayers in yukata or pajamas.
Please lower your voice after 9 pm so as not to disturb guests who plan to get up early.
Kakurinbo is a non-smoking environment. Smokers are requested to use the ashtrays at the entrance.
A laundry room is available for use by guests.
Major credit cards are accepted.