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Founded in the 7th century, Zenkoji Temple in Nagano is one of the most popular and important temples in Japan. The temple is the home to the first Buddha statue brought into Japan. Unfortunately, the original statue is not open for the public's viewing. Instead, a replica of the statue is shown to the public every six years. Zenkoji Temple played a major roll in the formation of Nagano, as the city grew based around the temple.
The temple's main hall contains a collection of Buddhist statues, and is the entry point to the temple's inner chamber basement. The inner chamber basement is an underground passage shrouded in complete darkness. Guests walk through this pathway to find the
key to paradise hidden somewhere along the wall. It's said the key grants salvation to anyone who touches it.
Close to the main hall is the temple's Zenkoji History Museum, home to a collection of carved Buddha and Bodhisattva statues and Rakan displays. To the south is the Sanmon Gate, a designated important cultural property that houses statues of the Monju Bodhisattva and the Shitenno (Four Heavenly Kings). From the gates, there is a small shopping arcade with souvenirs, local specialties, and restaurants for travelers to enjoy.
If you want to spend a night at a Japanese temple in Nagano, Japan Deluxe Tours can help you arrange this excursion as a custom add-on for one of our Winter Japan Tour or Highlights Japan vacation packages. You can also customize a Nagano Tour or Northern Japan tour with our custom vacation options!
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