Overnight stays at Japanese temples have become a popular activity among overseas tourists as the establishments look for innovative ways to survive amid a population decline and a decreasing number of Buddhist parishioners in the country.

At the temples, guests can meditate and make a handwritten copy of a Buddhist sutra using Japanese calligraphy.

"The setting was very nice with the sounds of the rain," says Norwegian resident Viral Shah, 31, who chose to meditate at a temple lodging on Mount Koya, a UNESCO world heritage site in Wakayama Prefecture.