Chokoku-ji Temple is located away from the main area of attractions in Matsushiro but for those curious about Japanese temples, Chokoku-ji might be of interest. The main temple is quite distinctive, with a raised portion of the roof bearing the Sanada clan’s ‘rokumonsen’ emblem and a large pair of ‘shachi’ or ‘shachikoko’ (mythical fish with the head of a tiger) protecting the structure from fire.
Behind the main temple, visitors will find the black mausoleum of Sanada Nobukyuki, first lord of the Sanada clan. The austere black is offset by elaborate gold-leaf design, reminiscent of the famous temples of Nikko.
A little tricky to navigate your way to but a good destination to seek-out for those renting bicycles and planning to spend the day in Matsushiro.
09:00 to 16:00
Approximately a 50 to 70-minute drive from the Jigokudani Monkey Park
From Nagano Station, take the Alpico Bus bound for Matsushiro from Bus Stop No.3 - outside the station's Zenkoji Exit - and disembark at the Matsushiro Station Bus Stop - it takes between 30 to 35 minutes. Once in Matsushrio, the temple is around 10 minutes walk to the east of the bus stop however it can be tricky to find. It is worthwhile to first head to the Tourist Information Center to collect a map and/or rent a bicycle. From the bus stop tourist Information can be reached in around 5 minutes by taking either road to your left and then turning right when you reach the next road. Walk straight along that road until you see Tourist Information on your left, next to the Sanada Treasures Museum