About Zenkoji Temple
Zenkoji Temple is a non-denominational Buddhist temple located in Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It was founded in the 3rd year of the Emperor’s reign (644) and is also commonly known as Shinshu Zenkoji Temple or Shinano Zenkoji Temple. Originally enshrined in Sankoji Temple in Iida City, the temple was moved to its current location in Nagano City by the Emperor in 629 AD and is now a designated important cultural property in Japan.
The name of the mountain of Zenkoji Temple is fixed mountain, but because of the influence of various Buddhist sects, it has been known as four gates and four foreheads, and the so-called four gates and four foreheads are: the east gate is fixed mountain – Zenkoji Temple, the south gate is southern life mountain – Infinite Life Temple, the north gate is northern empty mountain – Unshinji Temple, and the west gate is Busekyo Mountain -Jodoji Temple.
The spacious temple grounds are lined with the main hall, the sutra hall, the great persuasion, the great benevolence and 39 pagoda heads. The main hall, which was rebuilt in 1707, is designated as a national treasure, and the mountain gate and the sutra hall are designated as important cultural assets.
Zenkoji Temple has experienced more than 1,300 years of development since its founding, and is visited by millions of worshippers every year, making it one of the most visited temples in Nagano Prefecture.
How to get there
From Tokyo: JR Tokyo Station (Hokuriku Shinkansen approx. 1 hr. 30 min.) → JR Nagano Station
From Nagoya/Osaka JR Shin-Osaka Station (approx. 1 hour by Tokaido Shinkansen) → JR Nagoya Station (approx. 3 hours by Chuo Line Express “Shinano”) → JR Nagano Station JR Osaka Station (approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes by Express Thunderbird) → JR Kanazawa Station (approx. 1 hour by Hokuriku Shinkansen) → JR Nagano Station
When coming to Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, there are two possible patterns: entering Nagano City (Zenkoji Temple) by private car or coming to Nagano Station by train or bus.
In the case of trains and buses, there are some services that go directly into Zenkoji Temple, but most people usually get off at Nagano Station. If you come to Zenkoji by car, you are free to park either near Zenkoji or near Nagano Station.