Ishin Yoshimoto and wife Kinuko in a caveView from east


is a Japanese word which means “inside looking” or “introspection”. It helps us to sort out our past in order to create space for new experience. Static behavioral patterns and opinions can be revealed and dropped.

How to practice Naikan

Practicing Naikan we need time which is set aside exclusively for our self-reflection. We use a space with some degree of isolation that limits external distraction. We reflect on our relationship
  • to others (mother, father, sisters, brothers, relatives, friends, partners, colleagues...),
  • in fixed sequences (60 to 90 minutes) and
  • periods of life-time with the reflected person (kindergarten, elementary school, age of 10 - 14, 14 - 18...),
  • using the three questions:
      1. What have I received from this person?
      2. What have I given to this person?
      3. What troubles and difficulties have I caused this person?
The Naikan-guide comes regularly to listen attentively, respectfully without judgement and suggests the subject for the next period of reflection.

How long does it take to practice Naikan?

The classical Naikan retreat lasts one week (8 days), but there are various additional forms possible (see Naikan-Specials).

Who can practice Naikan?

Naikan is practiced by those who
  • are in an important decision-making process.
  • want to better understand themselves and their relationships.
  • want to bring more clarity into their lives.
  • are searching for the meaning of their lives.
  • want to regain gratitude, confidence and happiness.
Naikan is neither a dialogue- nor a psycho-therapie and has no religious content.


Naikan has been developed out of a Budhist practice called "Mishirabe" by the Japanese businessman Ishin Yoshimoto in the 1940's. Today, there are about 40 Naikan centers in Japan and Naikan is used in mental health counseling, addiction treatment, rehabilitation of prisoners, schools, and business. It has also taken root all over the world, with Naikan centers now established in the United States of America, Austria, Germany...