Capsule Room
4.7Overall Score

When tourists visit the secluded temple town of Koyasan, it’s usually for an overnight stay at a temple lodging where one can experience the life of the Shingon Buddhist monks who reside there.

Koyasan, located in an 800-meter high valley, is the center of Shingon Buddhism which was founded by the monk named Kobo Daishi. The original and ancient monastery is now surrounded by over a hundred other temples, about half of which offer the temple stay experience to both tourists and pilgrims.

While I’m sure it’s a wonderful experience, it is also a rather expensive one and not something Britnee and I could afford on this trip. The town itself, featuring beautiful temples, the stunning Okunoin cemetery and surrounding cedar forest, is still a must see, so we found an alternative and settled in at the Koyasan Guest House Kokuu for a two-night stay. 

MWJ_5856Capsule Room:

While the guest house offers two full-size private rooms, we each stayed in two of their capsule rooms that provided, as their website says, a balance of “spaciousness and cocoon-like coziness… for a truly unique sleeping experience.” I chose a top-level capsule, that provided plenty of headroom when I sat up, and slept on a comfortable mattress that was just long enough for my 6 foot 6 inch frame. Each capsule also had extra space to store luggage, (if one is willing to drag it up into the top-level), as well as electric sockets, a light and a small screened window for good ventilation. The guest house was located inches from a small road so when traffic passed by it was rather loud in my capsule, (the side closest to the road), loud enough to wake me. So when choosing your room I’d recommend one on the left side as you enter, away from the road.


The two toilets, two showers, (with free soap and shampoo), and separate sinks in the hallway were spotlessly clean. There was a comfortable lounge space for guests to enjoy with a nice selection of books to delve into, free spring water, a variety of teas and a strong WiFi connection. The kitchen was off limits to guests as the hosts used it to cook breakfast and dinner, which could be purchased for a reasonable cost. There was also a strict lock-up and lights-out policy at 10:30 p.m. but it was easy to respect, especially when we wanted to be up early to watch ceremonies at temples the following morning. The husband and wife staff were incredibly helpful, making sure we were comfortable in the guest house, directing us to sights worth seeing in Koyasan and ensuring we were catching the right trains to get to our next destination.


Our capsule rooms each cost ¥3,500 per night which, when considering the only other options were expensive temple stays, was a very fair price in this mountaintop village. We also bought dinner once for ¥900 each and breakfast twice for ¥550 each at the guest house and it was all delicious and convenient, as nearby alternatives were somewhat limited. A selection of drinks and snacks were also available at a reasonable price. On our last night our host gathered four of us in a minivan and drove us to soak in an onsen 30 minutes away for a fee of ¥1,600 each, which we thoroughly appreciated.


Koyasan Guest House Kokuu is located on the east side of town, a good 15 minute walk or short bus ride from the downtown area and many of the other sights. But it is located incredibly close to the most sacred site in Koyasan, Okunoin, which we returned to multiple times during our visit.

Next hostel on our route: HANA HOSTEL IN HIROSHIMA, JAPAN. 

About The Author


Mark quit everything to travel the world for a year with his wife, Britnee. Along the way, he picked up a love for many other things, including illy coffee, Nepal, Bolivianos bills, and Thai beaches. Now happily home in Utah, Mark is a balding marketing professional with a mountain biking addiction.

3 Responses

  1. Marion

    Hi Britnee and Mark,
    We are sitting in the lounge of Koyasan Guesthouse right now after a lovely afternoon of exploring the town. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have come here if it wasn’t for your blog. We are on a 2 months trip through Russia (Trans-Sib), Mongolia, China and Japan and have found lots of useful information in your blog along the way. So really I’m just writing to say thanks for all the effort you have put in – it’s great and super helpful!
    Cheers, Marion

    • Britnee Johnston

      Hi Marion, that is so awesome! Koyasan Guesthouse was such a lovely stay for us, I’m glad you get to experience it. Say hi to Ryochi, the owner, for us if you’re still there. And thank you for your kind message. It’s so nice to know that we were able to help someone plan their trip with our info. Wishing you safe and happy travels!