Get Japanese Experience! Zen Workshop (Zen Experience) in Soto Zen Buddism Sojiji Head Monastery

Why I decided to go to a Zen Workshop?

Something concentrating mind such as mindfulness and meditation is also getting popular in Japan.  I regard it as a method to make things like work, life or others better (Actually, I am not sure what it is).

“Zen” or “Zazen” is well known as one of its methods. It came from China long long time ago, and it has been developing in Japan.

So, is it very poplar in Japan? I don’t think so (certainly, most of Japanese would accept it easier than People in Western Culture). 

I am a Japanese (born and grew in Japan) but I don’t know well what Zen is. I thought it was just sitting and closing eyes.  Why it is practice? What is “nothing”?  Is it practice for fighting off sleepiness?(No, it is not)

I guess other Japanese also have same questions. 

However, as I mention above, things concentrating mind including “Zen” are getting popular.  So, I read a book of Zen to understand what Zen is.(Reference:  Zen: Guide for Beginners to Zen, Meditation, Buddhism, and Zen Buddhism (Peace of Mind) (Volume 1) )

I can’t understand…..


Zen Workshop (Zen Experience) in Sojiji Temple

 I realized I should do it to understand.   So!! I joined a Zen Workshop in Sojiji Temple located in Tsurumi, Yokohama in June(It is quite long time ago).

They offer some drop-in zen workshops such as monthly zazen program, morning zazen program (Both of them are carried out in Japanese). Beside, they offer drop-in English zazen program too.

A poster of English Zen Program
A poster of English Zen Program

See further information→ Zen Practice Course

I was deciding Monthly zazen program or Morning zazen program, while I thought ” Things for concentrating mind should be performed in the morning!” So, I decided to go Morning sazen program.

On the day of the program

I overslept.

The reception opened 5:15AM to 5:45AM and they wrote they needed to be on time on the website, but I overslept orz What the hell, why did I wake up at the time to leave?

In addition, early morning doesn’t have many trains as day time.

I had no choce without running when I arrived at JR Tsurumi Station at 5:35 AM.Then, I could not help hating my lack of daily exercise.

I thought I could find the reception easily since the website doesn’t say the specific place, however, I could not find anyone in front of the temple.  “Ahhh, what should I do??” (All was your own fault, Nao).

However, I found a person walking on the the temple street. “She must be a person to join the workshop!!” I followed her, and finally, reached to the reception.  Que sera, sera ♪

Flow of the Program

Moved to another place at 6:50AM and people who are used to Zen started at 7AM.  The beginners had a lecture from trainee monks and started it. 

Zen requires a half turning while sitting on a cushion colled Zafu (坐蒲 ざふ). I could not do it smoothly because my pants were slippery. I had never expected I struggle before starting actual Zen.

Practicing Zen was in 30 minuites or more, and the workshop finished. Very simple.


This was my first time Zen workshop. The impression is…

It’s pain!! I feel sore on my ankle! Zen makes my legs painful!!

It was no longer understanding “nothing” or meditating.

I was feeling nothing on my legs (especially my right leg).  And they got numb as I could not help thinking “OMG! Can I walk again?”  So, I could not concentrate Zen itself well. What did I want to do there?

I could recovered sooner from the numbness than I thought. Human body is awesome.  

Daily practice of Zen would be better than temporary Zen at a workshop. I am sure the daily practice and the workshop are much more preferred.

This was my first time of Zen workshop, so I have no idea what is good, bad, etc. But I think Zen is kind a thing of “learning from experience” so, I recommend to go this type of workshop. Sojiji temple offers English Zen Program as I mentioned above.

FYI :Reception Place

The reception is in Koshakudai.

Koshakudai (香積台 こうしゃくだい)

Reference WEB sites

Click following link if you need further Information for Sojiji Temple
Soto Zen Buddism Sojiji Head Monastery (English)

Click folloing link if you are looking for accommodation near from Sojiji Temple

Click the follwoing link if you are looking for your flight from overseas to Japan