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Zenkō-ji Temple, Nagano

(1,300+ reviews on the web)
Religious Site
One of the last remaining Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Japan, Zenkō-ji Temple draws worshippers seeking enlightenment from all over the country. Originally built in the 7th century, the temple compound stood before Japanese Buddhism was divided into sects, so priests of two different Buddhist schools share management of the shrine. The complex contains several gardens and buildings, including prayer rooms and a nunnery. The main temple holds a hidden Buddha statue that even the chief priest isn't allowed to view. Walk the pitch-black corridor under the temple to find and touch the hanging key of enlightenment. Our Nagano itinerary planner makes visiting Zenkō-ji Temple and other Nagano attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
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8 days in Kamikochi, Matsumoto & Nagano BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Nagano BY A USER FROM CANADA August, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: August, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Nagoya & Nagano BY A USER FROM BELGIUM August, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in Japan BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in Japan BY A USER FROM IRELAND October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 37 days in Japan BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 46 days in Japan BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Nagano BY A USER FROM THAILAND July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in Japan BY A USER FROM ISRAEL July, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 18 days in Japan BY A USER FROM ISRAEL September, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, shopping, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: September, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 19 days in Japan BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in Japan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We very much enjoyed our visit here. The grounds/gardens are very peaceful and lovely to stroll through and the gates in front of the temple are also quite a sight. The temple itself is amazing to loo...  more »
  • It is a pretty walk from the station to the temple and the many buildings are impressive. The monuments are interesting - there is even a memorial for the spirit of lost mail! One warning - if you are...  more »
  • Nationwide famous buddhist temple, whose history goes back to hundreds of years ago. The area is well kept, with many street food shops (there are also other kinds of shops, but I always concentrate o...  more »
Google
  • You can't miss this place when you stay in Nagano. This is Nagano's Nr. 1 glory. I went for morning ceremony 6:04 it started and it was cool to see it. Would recommended also have a walk around the main building. During the day you can do some shopping on the main street to the temple.
  • Absolutely fantastic place, I recommend this place to people who love history or loves temples. The street leading up to the temple has the ancient Japanese village feel and its pretty neat. Definitely take in the sights and sounds of this place.
  • It's a beautiful temple and an enjoyable walk. If you want some amazing krapes head down to the main street where all the shops are.
  • Nagano Prefecture is located basically in the center of Japan and is surrounded on all four sides by 3000-meter tall mountains, earning it the nickname of the “Roof of Japan”. In 1998, Nagano hosted the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The world-class snow resorts of Hakuba, Shiga Kogen Heights and Nozawa Onsen continue to attract winter sports enthusiasts every year. In addition, Nagano has convenient rail and expressway access to Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and other major cities, and is in close proximity to such premier sightseeing spots as Mt. Fuji, Hida-Takayama and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The prefecture spreads out to the north and south over 13,562 square kilometers, making it Japan’s fourth largest in size. Approximately 20% of the area is designated as Natural Parks. The prefecture boasts a sunny, inland climate, with an annual average of approximately 2000 hours of sunshine, and an average temperature of a moderate 12 degrees Celsius, with relatively low humidity. Besides being a treasure trove of nature, history and culture. Nagano is bursting with natural hot springs, making it the king of Onsens. Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park is the only place in the world you can see wild monkeys bathing in an onsen. Seeing their human-like expression on their faces as they soak is sure to bring a smile to your face. Karuizawa has historically been Japan’s most popular summer resort town. In addition to a multitude of golf courses and tennis courts and a well-appointed ski area, Karuizawa also features an expansive outlet shopping mall for year-round leisure enjoyment. Matsumoto Castle has the oldest 5-storied wooden donjon in the country and is a designated national treasure. Its black and white stucco siding provides a striking contrast with the beautiful Japan Alps in the background. Tsumago-juku, thanks to the preservation efforts of its townspeople, looks much the way it did during the feudal Edo era. Stepping into this classic post town gives one the feeling of having slipped back in time. Many people enjoy walking the 8 kilometers to Magome along the old Kyoto-to-Edo (Tokyo) Nakasendo Road, parts of which have the original cobblestone. In addition, thanks to the crisp, clean water and air, Nagano is famous for its delicious soba noodles, apples and sake, as well as oyaki dumplings, gohei mochi snacks, bamboo leaf-wrapped sasa-zushi. These and other traditional foods are part of Nagano’s culinary heritage and one of the prefecture’s biggest attractions.
  • Zenkoji is Temple of Nagano . Zenkoji has long history and may food store and gift shop vicinity. But regarding store and shop not open weekend.