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Zenko-ji Temple, Nagano

#1 of 145 in Things to do in Nagano
Must see · Religious Site · Tourist Spot
One of the last remaining Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Japan, Zenko-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. Using our online itinerary creator, Nagano attractions like Zenko-ji Temple can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Zenko-ji Temple reviews

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1,930 reviews
  • Loved the structure. Very historic and huge. They have also created a nice museum where the history and great artifacts are stored. Surrounding area has lot of temples and shops  more »
  • We have visited Zenko-ji on three different sakura trips and each time the blossoms did not disappoint. The weeping tree on the side of the main hall is spectacular when in full bloom - not to be.....  more »
  • Very touristy but worth the visit and the expansive grounds make it not too bad especially if you go in off season, first thing in the morning, or during a pandemic(!). You can easily spend a day here and exploring the surrounding streets. Recommended to buy the combined ticket for 1000 yen that gives access to the gate, the 'walk through hell' in the main temple (not if you fear the dark or enclosed spaces!), the prayer wheel, and the museum (which has some English signage).
  • Beautiful temple...had a great time... Entrance fee charged for inner hall ... They are parking behind the temple with reasonable price. Most of the local shops serves local delicacies. Very unique feeling during the visit

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