Located in Tennoji, Osaka, "WAQOO Shitaderamachi" is a city-style temple lodging that provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere with the amenities of a hotel. You can also enjoy a mini Buddhism training, copying of sutras, and other cultural experiences. Here, we will be introducing the morning prayer where only hotel guests are allowed to participate in.

 

Usually, it isn’t open to the public! Morning Prayer

Source: icoico

You can join the morning prayer at the nearby "Aizendo Shomanin." If you wish to participate, you can make a reservation on the day before, and gather at 6:35 AM on the first-floor main hall.

Source: icoico

You head towards the Aizendo after they explain the important notes to you. You can borrow the rosary you will be using, so no worries.

 

Bowing and Cleansing

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The gates of Aizendo usually open at 9 AM, but they will open it earlier, especially for the guests. First, you take a bow in front of the gate before entering.

Source: icoico

You cleanse your hands and mouth according to the procedures you have learned from the guide. The water you will be using is the water that flows within their precinct, called "Aizome-no-reisui." It is spiritual water that will give you blessings when you drink it. In addition, you cleanse your hands with powdered incense sticks called Zukou.

 

Mornings with a strict atmosphere

Source: icoico

After taking your seat, it’s time for the morning prayer. While listening to the chief priest’s sermon, you can say a prayer quietly. With the Goma fire (Buddhist rite of cedar-stick burning) set aflame, the solemn atmosphere will cleanse your feelings. They will tell you when to put your hands together and nod your head, so there is no need to worry.​ ​

You will chant Hannya Shingyo (heart sutra) together with the priest. You will be chanting it while looking at a paper with Hannya Shingyo (heart sutra) written on it, so you do not have to memorize it.​ ​

Source: icoico

In the middle, the priest will scatter paper cut into the shape of lotus flower petals called Sange (flowers for scattering)—you can also bring them home. They say if you keep them as a charm, you could get blessings. Then you light up the incense stick, think of what you would like in your heart, and ask for it from the Buddha.

 

The priest’s talk will make you smile

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When the prayer is over, we can listen to the priest’s talk about many things, such as the Aizendo, their precious cultural property "Tahoto (Taho tower)," and power spots. And since we are in the happy city of Osaka, his talk will make you laugh, but it certainly is useful information.​ ​

Source: icoico

Lastly, you can receive "the blessed rice" that has been prayed for in front of Ragaraja. You can either eat it just like this or mix and cook it with rice. They say that you can receive blessings by doing so, and it is also used for WAQOO’s breakfast.

 

A Heartwarming Breakfast

Source: icoico

When you return to the hotel, breakfast awaits. Here we have side dishes, and miso soup cooked neatly with seasonal vegetables. Even though it is simple, it can satisfy your stomach and fill your heart with warmth.

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You chant the "Shokuzenkan" before eating, which is also the starting point of "Itadakimasu." (Itadakimasu is what people say before having a meal)

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They even have a pickles buffet where you can choose what you like, and it goes perfect with the kelp stock porridge. After eating, you close the meal by chanting the "Shokugokan." (after-meal prayer)

The one-night, two-day mini-training is especially recommended for when you feel down spirited. How about enjoying the special experience of WAQOO Shitaderamachi?

【Shop Information】
WAQOO Shitaderamachi
● LOCATION
Osaka-fu Osaka-shi Tennoji-ku Shitaderamachi 2 chome 5 - 12
● TEL
06-6775-7020 (Reception: 5 AM – Midnight 12 AM)
● Accommodation fee
One night with breakfast starting from 13,500 yen (tax excluded)
● Business hours
Check-in 15:00 - 24:00
Check out by 10:00
● Closed on
None

Article・Photography / Okutani
※The information in this article is as of the interview date (October 2019), so there may be a possibility of price change.

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