In all likelihood, had someone told us about the idea of a homestay or a home-bound stay say a decade or a decade and a half ago- we may have quite simply rubbished the idea aside.
Travelling was often about getting oneself locked in a premier resort or hotel property and lavishing on oneself and one’s family the ostentatious surroundings dripped in the chandelier-bejewelled hotel lobbies, sauna and swimming pool-sunk premier properties and resorts sunken in enigmatic aromas. Staying at off-beat places, more a part of what could perhaps be called ‘concept tourism’ wasn’t yet open or tried extensively.
Who would’ve wanted to confine himself or his family in someone else’s home? That was as most may feel- a truly bizarre concept. But back then. Not now. Not anymore, it ought to be said.
Holiday homes and “staycations” as they are called have completely redefined the concept of travel and given intrepid travellers a new sole in their feet, so to speak. The entire concept about home-stays is to mingle with a set of people representing a different country and culture to pervade a sense of plurality.
But now, forget holiday homes or personal properties that are such an implicit part of people’s to-do list. But there’s an underlining question that needs to be answered.
Do you seek something when you are out travelling? Rather, could there be something deeper and more intrinsic to the way one travels and where one travels to? If so, then perhaps this enigmatic and truly out of the rut travel company based in Japan has heightened the spiritual inquisition of a person.
In a brilliant and hitherto-less experienced dimension in the sphere of travelling, a Japanese company Waka is almost certain to come out with a stay-in concept at a Buddhist temple. This surprising, newfound idea is being called the spiritual equivalent of Airbnb.
At the first instance, it may seem too niche a concept in the spectre of travel. But if you actually gave it a thought, then parking oneself at the insides of a place as quiet or quaint as a Buddhist temple may just be the kind of breakaway one needs from a ‘remorsefully boring’ kind of existence.
According to some new laws that are set to be amended and brought into effect, from June 15, everything including someone’s personal bathroom, a private home fronting a beach or a Buddhist temple is set to be included into accommodations for letting in travellers and people from different corners of the globe. This effectively means that where aspects such as bunking oneself in, inside the cosy, quiet confines of spiritually powerful and yet simple places like a Buddhist temple shall no longer be a missed opportunity or something that happened in imaginary movies.
This Japanese company that has ideated such a wonderful and pleasant concept hopes that it may become the Airbnb of religion and spiritual tourism. While in the rest of the world, concepts such as religious tourism or spiritual tourism are widely popular although concentrated and restricted to few countries- such as Palestine or Israel, Mecca Medina, India and Sri Lanka- with each unique destination having a sacred religious context and poignance- Japan, in all these years, hasn’t yet been earmarked or bracketed as a place for spiritual or religious destinations.
There’s no surprise or new eureka moment to fathom that for the longest time, thanks to the vivid spread of Buddhism that came to Japan, ever since it went to Sri Lanka and Myanmar, there’ve been countless Japanese Buddhist temples, serenaded with succinctly different architecture and stylogy, for the lack of a better word. But while one could visit these and click a picture one too many, there wasn’t a concept of parking oneself inside these temples. Well, things change and so has the context of travel.
From the vantage point, there’s reason to believe that Japanese temples aren’t doing financially all that well and there are lots of spacious areas inside that can be let out to tourists and intrepid visitors who come to seek in the ‘Land Of The Rising Sun’ a place of their own. Consider this, in some other way, a forlorn American traveller, willing to start a second inning in life, discovering in Varanasi, a place away from his own home but not having the delight of staying inside a Hindu temple, for obvious reasons that such a concept hasn’t been conceived the way it has been in Japan now.
Among the leading Chinese media outlets, South China Morning Post, shared something interesting in regards to the new Japanese travel concept, “We believe that foreigners who have already had a taste of Japanese culture will want a new sort of experience and this could be it,” said Megumi Okamoto, a spokeswoman for Waka who shared this with the news portal.