Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Japan  /  Chubu  /  Nagano Prefecture  /  Nagano  /  Religious Sites  /  Zenkō-ji Temple

Zenkō-ji Temple, Nagano

(4.5/5 based on 1,200+ reviews on the web)
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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19 days in Japan BY A USER FROM FRANCE February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in Japan BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 18 days in Japan BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA April, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Kyoto, Nagano & Tokyo BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA April, culture, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 20 days in Japan BY A USER FROM SPAIN March, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 19 days in Japan BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 36 days in Japan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 41 days in Japan BY A USER FROM CANADA April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Japan BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Japan BY A USER FROM CANADA April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 23 days in Tokyo, Nagano & Osaka BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: December, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in Kyoto, Chubu & Tokyo Prefecture BY A USER FROM SINGAPORE April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • An old temple and beautiful temple to see. Is one famous temple to wacth if you like to see old temples in japan. Has very beautiful surroundings. Best time to make a visit is in spring or summer. 
  • What wonderful visit! Impressive this temple of 59000 metres square! Very near Nagano station, you can go walking and enjoy this nice city. The venue is huge! Full of history and beauty! In the main hall there is a visit below, a completely dark tunnel where you have to find the key of paradise and that connects you with the three deities of the temple. With that input also you can enter in the Pagoda and see them treasures. It's amazing!!! I loved it and was pleasantly surprised!
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  • Easy access, you can go on foot or by bus from the train station of Nagano, worth the stroll through the streets and surrounding areas of the temple. Take an ice cream or tea at the various stores that invade the street that leads to the temple.
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Google
  • Mostly barrier free. Lots of families, locals and tourists. After a walk along the busy line of stores up to the temple area, you can enjoy various statues, put smoke on your head (watch the locals) and buy omamori (good luck charms). Main temple asks you to purchase a ticket to enter but you've come this far so worth it! Had shichigosan and a wedding going on. Quite exciting. I say mostly barrier free but if not, all barrier free. Just need to go off to the right or left but can get into the main temple. Btw sign asks Pokemon trainers to greet and pay respect to the temple, as the Pokemons here are also doing the same.
  • An exciting and vast area with plenty to see and do. In November the scenery was incredible. As with everywhere in Japan, everyone there was extremely pleasant to be around.
  • It's an incredible temple. Really authentic and the surroundings are rich in culture. Please. PLEASE, don't miss the Mio (仁王) in this temple because they are majestic and I felt most of the people were missing them. The left guardian (吽形) is a special beauty.
  • Probably the highlight of Nagano city and one of the few places I would recommend. Been to Zenko-ji in summer and winter but must say it looks spectacular covered in snow.
  • Absolutely stunning .