Zen training temple famous for its severity offers an opportunity to experience a portion of the practice.
Bairinji is a place for ascetic training of Zen that is famous for its severity among many such places. Many ascetic monks gather from all over the country. Lay people can taste the life of monks under a paid program. You will share food with ascetic monks and do Zazen and cleaning (as a part of training called samu or moving Zazen). Living separated from the secular world would become a specially memorable experience.
The outer garden of the temple is famous for its plum trees. About 500 plum trees bear dainty flowers from mid-February to early-March. The trees bearing red, white and pink flowers are donated by citizens in 1958. In their season, sweet-sour scent floats around the area attracting many tourists. There is a corner to rest with a cup of tea and sweets and buy souvenirs.
The temple houses over 600 cultural assets including Buddha images and the painting of Mt. Fuji done by Ogata Korin (1658-1716), renowned painter during the Edo Period. Unfortunately they are not open to the public, but you can see doors carved in delicate relief in the front of the main hall. In its rear, the mausoleum and tomb of each successive Kurume domain lord display their stately presence in a small wood. How about looking at your inner self in the stillness to touch the essence of Zen?
Address: 209 Kyo-machi, Kurume-shi, Fukuoka
Phone: 0942-33-4422(Kurume City Tourist Center)
Directions: (Train) A 5-minute walk from Kyushu Shinkansen Kurume Station (50 minutes from Hakata Station). (Car) About 15 minutes from the Kurume Interchange on the the Kyushu Expressway.