Trip to Japan and Zen Sesshin

Sesshin | Zen Practice Events

About the Event

Trip to Japan and Zen Sesshin

A 5-day Zen sesshin (Zen retreat) in Nara prefecture, the spiritual heartland of Japan, followed by sightseeing and cultural activities around Japan, led by Zen masters Daizan Skinner and Shinkai Kane.

The Zen sesshin retreat will be held at a retreat centre near the top of Mount Ikoma, a beautiful mountain just outside of Nara city – seen as the spiritual heartland of Japan. The retreat will be followed by a period of cultural activities and sightseeing.

2024 Itinerary

Day 0: Arrive at the retreat center in Ikoma, Japan. This can be either Sunday, June 16 (recommended) or Monday, June 17.
Day 1-5 (Monday night, June 17 – Saturday afternoon, June 22): Zen Sesshin (Retreat)
Day 5 afternoon: Precepts Ceremony, Visiting Hozanji Temple, Waterfall Practice
Day 6 (Sunday, June 23): Travel to Nara. Visit Todaiji, Nara Park, Kasuga Shrine
Day 7 (Monday, June 24): Kyoto sightseeing including the Philosopher’s Path, the Silver Pavilion, Nanzenji Temple, followed by a “shojin ryori” dinner (temple style meal)
Day 8: Spending the night at Eiheiji Temple (the headquarters of the Soto Zen school) in Fukui Prefecture
Day 9 (Wednesday, June 26): Eiheiji and returning through Uji City. Uji is one of the most well-know places in the country for Japanese tea. Visit the temple Byodo-in which has a hall and statue over 1000 years old
Day 10: a Japanese tea ceremony, buying souvenirs, group sayonara dinner
Day 11 (Friday, June 28): departure


The cost will be GBP£2150 / US$2745, which covers accommodation, most travel within Japan, and the full cost of the retreat including meals while at the retreat centre (excluding airfares to get there). We will need a deposit of $350 when you book. Please get in touch now to register your interest.

To Register/Questions

Email us directly at We’ll send you an information packet and registration form.

Spaces are limited so please plan in advance.

To find out more about our Sesshins, click here.


  1. What type of accommodations will we be staying in?: Accommodation at the retreat centre will be simple shared rooms. Men and women will sleep separately. The rooms have traditional-style futons on the floor instead of beds. Accommodation at the guesthouse will be shared as well.
  2. What cultural activities will we be doing?: traditional Japanese meals, visiting/engaging at shrines and temples, taking part in a tea ceremony. Traditional waterfall practice at a mountain shrine.
  3. Which airport to fly into?: Fly into Osaka Kansai International Airport. The retreat centre is a couple of hours from there.
  4. Do I have to do everything or can I do my own thing if I want to?: Yes, you can choose to take a day or two (or more!) off. We have a full schedule but always a few people who choose to lie low or explore on their own. You can craft the trip to meet your needs.
  5. For the sesshin – can I sit on a chair? Or is it all on the floor?: We’ll have plenty of chairs available, in addition to meditation cushions and blankets. You can also bring a favorite meditation item if needed.
  6. What type of food? Can you cater for special diets?: Simple vegetarian food catered to special diets. We have a lovely Japanese cook for the sesshin. The sightseeing portion of the trip will entail eating at different places. People generally find that they have plenty of options. During our group meals the restaurants cater to special diets as well.
  7. What’s the weather likely to be like?: June is the start of the summer in Japan. Typically high 70s and low 80s F (25-27° C) with overnight being lower, though not significantly.
  8. How will we be getting from A to B?: We’ll be using public transport most of the time. You’ll be looked after (shepherded around :)). Mostly trains, buses, taxi cabs for the long distances. Walking around town.
  9. Are there any free/rest days?: see question 4. Each day we have something scheduled though you’re welcome to be on your own. Nara and Kyoto are very accessible cities.
  10. What’s the maximum size of group: typically 10-15 people.
  11. Is a visa required?: for most European countries and the US a visa is not required.
  12. How much walking will we be doing?: a decent amount. Though there are plenty of opportunities for breaks or taxi rides. Moderate walking ability is plenty. If you have any injuries please let us know, we’ll find a way to make it comfortable and accessible for you.

YouTube video

YouTube video

Japan group 2024

Event Details

Booking Deposit: $350
Tuition Fee: £2150 / $2745

Booking Enquiry

Please contact us using the button below to send us any questions or enquire about booking this event.