A historically famous non-sectarian temple in Japan, founded about 1400 years ago. The enshrined Buddha is believed to save any kind of people regardless of their religious affiliation so the other sectarian believers are welcome to visit.
This historical large-scaled temple is about 59,000 square meters (about 5.9 ha) and was founded 1400 years ago. Many Buddhist facilities fill the compound. Some of them are; Daikanjin and Daihongan (they are also independent temples), and guests' quarters. This temple was founded at a specific time before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being. Some of the worshippers were those with power at the time, such as Minamoto no Yoritomo and Tokugawa Ieyasu , as well as the common people. "Following a cow brings you to Zenkoji Temple" is a famous phrase of the legend related to Zenkoji Temple , which means doing or receiving something good by accident or through the invitation of somebody else, and this phrase still has invited 6 million people every year for worship.
Being designated as a National Treasure, the Main Hall is the largest wooden-cultural building within Eastern Japan. The oldest Buddha statue of Japan, “Amida Triad Sharing One Halo” was brought to Japan in 552 CE together with the introduction of Buddhism, and has been enshrined as a Principal image of Buddha. O-KAIDAN Tour should be recommended during a visit to Zenkoji Temple . In O-KAIDAN Tour, visitors walk through the underground corridor running beneath the main hall in total darkness, and touching the key set just beneath the Principal image is believed to promise you the Land of Happiness in the afterlife.
The Principal image is completely hidden but another image made in the Kamakura period (the end of the 12th century) called “Maedachi Honzon” is opened to the public once in seven years by the traditional year-counting method. The next opening is scheduled for 2022.
One of the historically famous and old temples founded about 1400 years ago.
A famous phrase, "Following a cow brings you to Zenkoji Temple" has invited about 6 million visitors every year.
The oldest Buddha statue of Japan, “Amida Triad Sharing One Halo” is enshrined as a Principal image of Buddha.
O-KAIDAN Tour is a popular experience binding to Buddha.
“Maedachi Honzon” is opened to the public and this event is called, “Gokaicho” , once in seven years by the traditional year-counting method. The atmosphere becomes lively during those days by many visitors.
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- Name in Japanese
- Postal Code
- 491 Motoyoshicho, Nagano City, Nagano
- Open every day
The public is permitted to visit the precincts.
O-KAIDAN Tour: 4:30am-4:30pm during summer season
6:00am-4:00pm during winter season
Museum , Sanmon (the most important gate of the temple), and Buddhist Texts Library: 9:00 am-4:00 pm
An admission ticket NAIJIN-KEN (for O-KAIDAN Tour and Museum ): 500 yen
Ticket for three buildings, Naijin (A tatami-mat space in the main hall), Sanmon , and Buddhist Texts Library: 1000 yen
1) From Nagano station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, about 15 minutes by bus bound for Zenkoji, get off at Zenkoji Ⅾaimon bus station , and walk about 5 min.
2) A 40-min drive from Nagano IC on Joshin-etsu Expressway.
- Credit Cards
- Accepted (Visa, Mastercard, JCB, UnionPay) * at the goods store only.
- Official Website
- Official Website (English)