Kaminokusan Zenkoji Temple [Nagano]


Zenkoji Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Japan. Zenkoji Temple was founded in the Kamakura period during the Kengyu era (around 1190). Historically, the temple was worshipped as the guardian deity of Shinano Province (present-day Nagano Prefecture) and maintained its status during the Warring States Period and the Edo Period.

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Zenkoji Temple is a temple that boasts nationwide popularity and has been known as “Visit Zenkoji Temple at least once, even if it is far away” and “Visit Zenkoji Temple at least once in your life”.
Since its foundation, the temple has been widely and deeply worshipped as a place to connect with Amida Nyorai Buddha and as a spiritual center for the people.
Since the temple was founded before the establishment of Buddhist sects, it is a non-denominational mono-Buddhist temple that accepts anyone regardless of religious affiliation.


The main buildings of Kouji include the main hall (Daihondo), the bell tower, the temple gate, the kuri (a small wooden structure used for storage), and the kodo (lecture hall). The main hall, in particular, houses treasures and Buddhist statues and is the center of worship. The principal deity of Zenkoji Temple is Amida Nyorai (Amida Nyorai), and is therefore the object of worship.

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Zenkoji Temple has a special period called “Gokaicho,” during which the main sanctuary is open to the public about once every seven years, attracting many believers and visitors. The current Zenkoji main hall, rebuilt in 1707, was built in the mid-Edo period and is designated a national treasure as a Buddhist building. The Sanmon Gate is a National Important Cultural Property.

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During the Gokaicho period, many people visit Zenkoji Temple to pray and pay their respects. There are various courses of worship at Zenkoji, including not only visits to the main hall, but also to the back roads and sacred sites.

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The approach to the main hall is paved with cobblestones and lined with many souvenir stores and restaurants, making it a pleasant walk.


Manager’s comment.

Once in a lifetime visit to Zenkoji Temple. Pulled by oxen, I visit Zenkoji once in my life. Zenkoji is famous throughout Japan as a temple that should be visited at least once. It is a typical tourist spot that can be reached on foot from Nagano Station. You can enjoy the streets of Omotesando, Nakamise-dori, and visit the temple. There are also many Nagano specialties such as soba noodles, oyaki, miso, etc., so you can enjoy both sightseeing and gourmet food.

my opinion

Kamigayama Zenkoji Temple

491 Nagano Motozen-cho, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, 380-0851 Japan

*When you enter the north parking lot (parking lot 1) north of the traffic light, there is a coin-operated parking lot (500 yen for 6 hours, pre-paid).

To get to Zenkoji Temple from JR Nagano Station, take the local bus departing from the Zenkoji Exit bus rotary from Bus Stop No. 1 (bound for Zenkoji Temple) (from Nagano Station to Zenkoji Daimon, 15 minutes, 190 yen). (From the bus stop at Zenkoji Daimon, it is about a 5-minute walk to the main hall of Zenkoji Temple.

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