“Chair Zazen” Zen Meditation in Kyoto?! (No More Legs Falling Asleep)

“Chair Zazen” Zen Meditation in Kyoto?! (No More Legs Falling Asleep)


We’re sure a lot of people have heard of the word “Zen” but very few people have actually practiced or experienced Zen meditation. There is probably no better place for getting some “Zen” in your life than Kyoto as it is filled with a gazillion temples that are extremely rich in history.

A lot of people are probably horrified of the thought of sitting in one position for an extended period of time and dealing with their legs falling asleep. However, the Zen meditation experience that we are introducing in this article is like no other because you will be meditating on a chair!!

The Concept

Declutter your mind with an introduction to “chair” Zen meditation that has yet to be commercialized and aim to unravel your heart through the special Shabutsu experience where you are allowed to use colors freely as you like!

Shabutsu is a Buddhist training of tracing Buddhist images.
Shakyo is a Buddhist training of hand-copying sutra.

Basic Information

💜 Tour Name:

Zenjoji Chair Zen Meditation and Shabutsu Experience

💜 Tour Length:

Day trip

💜 Time Spent:

Around 2 hours.

💜 Target:


💜 Area:

Ujitawara, Kyoto


① Date, Time & Place: Sunday, February 20, 1PM-3PM @ Zenjoji Temple

② Estimated Time Spent : About 2 hours (Priest’s explanation & meditation 30 minutes) (Treasure Hall tour 20 minutes) (Shabutsu activity 40 minutes) (Tea break 30 minutes)

Why We Liked the Experience

Zenjoji Temple

Despite the significance of the Zenjoji garden where the essence of all four seasons can be felt, the place felt very warm almost like visiting your parent’s house.

Be sure to take a picture of this thatched-roof temple because it is quite a rare sight.

The weather was cold enough to snow but somehow the plum blossoms had already started to bloom which was very cute to see!

“Chair Zen” Experience

Being that it was our first Zen meditation experience, we were worried about having to sit on the floor for a long time. However, since it was a “Chair Zen” meditation, we barely felt any discomfort!

If you master this “chair” meditation, you’ll be able to easily practice Zen meditation on your own at home even if you don’t have tatami mats or cushions!

The explanation for the correct posture was very easy to understand with easy-to-follow illustrations. Even though we were beginners, we felt like Zen meditation pros with the correct postures!

The Treasure Hall

At the treasure hall, we got to see the Buddha statue at a very close distance! Photography isn’t allowed here but you can enjoy a 360 ° view of the room from this link. Since you can look at it anytime you want, you’ll feel like Buddha is always with you.

Shabutsu & Shakyo Activity

Shabutsu is a Buddhist training of tracing Buddhist images.
Shakyo is a Buddhist training of hand-copying sutra.

We had a lot of fun because we were able to express ourselves with our favorite colors during the Shakyo (sutra copying) and Shabutsu (Buddhist image tracing) activity.

We were also able to concentrate like we did during the Zen meditation so our minds were calm and we felt just the right amount of tiredness in our heads. It’s been a while since the last time we immersed ourselves into one task which made it a great experience.

Tea Time

Other than that, it was also great to be able to wind down and drink some tea at the café space. The scenery we saw while drinking our tea resembles the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto.

We drank two types of tea: Sencha and Gyokuro, and we felt like we were able to differentiate the taste better than usual. It’s probably thanks to the Zen meditation! (Or maybe it’s just in my head lol)

The tea came in western-style tea cups which made it a unique experience to enjoy.

Inside the café, we found some “Kamado” which is a cooking range that people used back in the day. It took us back to Japanese people’s life in the old days!

We personally love these cute and round lamps so we couldn’t help but take pictures of them!

Why We Recommend This Experience

Because it is an extravagant experience to be able to do Zen meditation, Shakyo, and Shabutsu activities all on the same day. It is great for people who want to experience Zen meditation, Shakyo, and Shabutsu casually.

Best Season to Visit

🌸 Spring

Because the garden will be gorgeous which would become a beautiful sight to look at.

💡 When you want to start something new or when you have some worries and want to clear your mind

Because after the activities, you’ll feel refreshed with a warm fuzzy feeling and you’ll notice some positive changes in your mind.

Find Out More About Kyoto’s Hidden Countryside

Latest Contents

KTIC Banner

Enjoy Kansai with KTIC
Tourist Information / PASS / WIFI / Day Tour
Kansai International Airport (KIX) T1
Open Everyday 9.30 – 17.30
Kyoto Tower 3F
Open Everyday 10.00 – 17.00


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *