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Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

Nagano’s Spiritual Heart with a Hidden Treasure

Key features

  • Buddhist Temple
  • National Treasure
  • Daily Ceremony
  • Festivals
  • Meditation
  • Calligraphy
  • Buddhist Guesthouses
  • Nearby Dining
  • Nearby Accommodation
  • Tours
  • Traditional Craft Activities
  • Tours

Public Transport

Nagano Station20 min walk
Gondo Station<10 min walk

Popular Attractions

Patio Daimon2 min walk
Monzen Terrace Enya2 min walk
Jigokudani Monkey Park70 min bus/train

Zenkoji Temple

Nagano’s Spiritual Heart with a Hidden Treasure

Key features

  • Buddhist Temple
  • National Treasure
  • Daily Ceremony
  • Festivals
  • Meditation
  • Calligraphy
  • Buddhist Guesthouses
  • Nearby Dining
  • Nearby Accommodation
  • Tours
  • Traditional Craft Activities
  • Tours
Less than 20 minutes walk from Nagano Station, Zenko-ji is one of Japan’s oldest and most important Buddhist temples. Built in dedication to the first known Buddhist statue to be brought to Japan, the temple has stood watch over the city – in one form or another – for nearly 1400 years. To this day, Zenko-ji remains an important destination for Buddhist pilgrims while also being one of Japan’s most open and welcoming temples. A morning ceremony is performed every day with visitors of any background or faith invited to attend. The temple also plays host to many events, festivals and celebrations throughout the year and remains the spiritual heart of the region.
Established in 642, the story of Zenko-ji is intertwined with that of Nagano itself. The city grew-out from the temple precinct and to this day, Zenko-ji retains its importance in the daily lives of Nagano’s residents. The temple’s main hall is a registered National Treasure, housing the 'hibutsu' or 'secret buddha' statue. Now hidden from human view, the legend of the statue imbues the temple with an air of mystery manifest in the 'kaidan meguri' – a dark tunnel which leads visitors under the temple to the point below where the statue is now said to be kept. Completely black, those who enter guide themselves only by touch in search of the 'Key to Paradise', a physical object hidden in the tunnel awaiting discovery.

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  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Zenkoji Temple

Recommended Highlights from Snow Monkey Resorts

Explore One of Japan’s Oldest & Most Important Buddhist Temples

Explore One of Japan’s Oldest & Most Important Buddhist Temples

Established in 642, Zenko-ji is one of Japan’s most revered temples that welcomes visitors of any background or faith.

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Seek Your Path to Paradise: Zenko-ji Ceremonies & Festivals

Seek Your Path to Paradise: Zenko-ji Ceremonies & Festivals

Known as the ‘o-asaji’, Zenko-ji performs a morning ceremony every day of the year and hosts several festivals throughout the year.

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Experience Guided Mediation & More at Zenko-ji

Experience Guided Mediation & More at Zenko-ji

Seeking a deeper experience? These essential Buddhist practices can be booked at the temple and guided by a resident monk.

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Join a Tour & Discover the Fascinating Story of the Zenko-ji

Join a Tour & Discover the Fascinating Story of the Zenko-ji

Whether you are visiting for the day or in town for longer, Zenko-ji is fundamental to the story of Nagano – one best experienced with a guide.

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News / Info

How to get to Zenko-ji

How to get to Zenko-ji

Whether you are staying in Nagano City or just passing through, Zenko-ji is accessible on foot, by public transport or taxi.

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The 'Gokaicho': Everything You Need to Know

The 'Gokaicho': Everything You Need to Know

Taking place in 2021, the Gokaicho is a two-month long festival that sees millions of visitors flock to the temple.

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Traditional Activities at Nearby Patio Daimon

Traditional Activities at Nearby Patio Daimon

Only moments walk from the temple, Patio Daimon offers a range of traditional activities suitable for visitors of all ages.

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Nearby Dining & Accommodation Options

Nearby Dining & Accommodation Options

Within easy walking distance of the temple – and even within the temple grounds – there are plenty of options when looking for somewhere to eat or stay.

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Nearby Recommendations

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Visit Nagano's World-famous Monkeys

Accessible from Nagano City using train or bus, the monkey park is a must-do activity while in Nagano.

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Togakushi

Togakushi

Combine your visit to Zenko-ji with exploration of some of Japan's most important Shinto shrines

Located in the forest just outside of Nagano City, Togakushi is a sacred landscape where tradition lives on.

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Obuse

Obuse

Small town with lots to offer!

Famous for its chestnut confectionaries, Obuse is home to the Hokusai museum along with sake and miso breweries.

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Hokusai Museum

Hokusai Museum

Dedicated to Japan's most famous and influential artist, Katsushika Hokusai

Having resided in Obuse in some of his final years, the town is now home to the Hokusai Museum profiling the life and work of Japan's most celebrated artist.

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Gansho-in Temple

Gansho-in Temple

Home to Hokusai's last great masterpiece

Painted on the ceiling of the temple, 'The Phoenix Staring in Eight Directions' is Hokusai's last great masterpiece and largest remaining artwork.

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Shiga Kogen Ski Resort

Shiga Kogen Ski Resort

Bigger, higher, better!

As Japan's largest and highest ski resort, Shiga Kogen is blessed with Nagano's longest season and great powder.

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Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen

Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen

Historic hot spring towns nearby the monkey park

Offering numerous 'ryokan' (traditional guesthouses) with their own onsen, these quaint towns enjoy a quiet charm.

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Mastumoto Castle

Mastumoto Castle

One of Japan's last remaining original castles

Easily accessible from Nagano by train, Matsumoto Castle is registered National Treasure and one of the region's most popular destinations.

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Amenities

Multiple temples
Historic buildings
Traditional Buddhist practices
Traditional craft experiences
Souvenir shops
Restaurants & cafes
Public toilets

Access

Public Transport

Nagano Station20 min walk
Gondo Station<10 min walk

Popular Attractions

Patio Daimon2 min walk
Monzen Terrace Enya2 min walk
Jigokudani Monkey Park70 min bus/train

491 Motoyoshicho, Nagano City, Nagano
TEL:+81-26-234-3591