An online reservations service for Buddhist temples in Japan is due to go live on Friday. The alternate accommodation service will allow visitors to book themselves into rooms at temples all over the Asian country and is a similar set up to Airbnb.
The new accommodation portal for Japan is called Terahaku and this translates roughly to temple stay. Terahaku's management team say they hope to have about 100 temples signed up in time for D-Day on Friday. These are in prime locations which include the famous Mii-dera Temple near Mt Hieie and Biwako Lake.
Temple accommodation has been around for some time in Japan, but existing laws bar the temples from making money from the service. This all changes on Friday when the Housing Lodging Business Law deregulates this requirement and permits temples to charge when renting out accommodation.
Terahaku's website, search engine and reservations pages are all set up but in Japanese. The administrators say the long-term goal is to hook up with international accommodation consolidators like Booking.com to provide service for visitors from overseas. The site will also eventually offer courses in Zazen meditation.
Terahaku's website explains that temples will be utilising vacant rooms and guests will be able to gain insights into Japanese culture and traditions for themselves. The site says guests staying at temple accommodation will help increase tourism numbers in out-of-the-way locales and give a shot-in-the-arm to local economies too.