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Temple Spots in Nagano Area

  • Zenkoji Temple
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    4.5
    1693 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Naganomotoyoshichou 491-b
    "Located in Nagano City, this temple does not belong to any sect. Any sect is free to worship here, which has received veneration for having Japan's oldest Ikko Sanson Amida Nyorai as the main deity. During the Edo period, it was said that ""once in your life, visit Zenkoji Temple,"" The ""oasaji"" is performed every day during the sunrise. If you purchase a ticket for the inner sanctum, you can worship up close. The ""zenritsu honzon"" is performed once every seven years. About 15 minutes by bus from JR Nagano Station."

    Zenko-ji Temple should be a "must see" spot in Nagoya. Quite an amazing temple with a lovely pathway in front. Highly recommended.

  • Anrakuji Temple
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    4.0
    146 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Besshonsen 2361
    This Soto school Buddhist temple is located in Bessho Onsen in Ueda City. The oldest temple in Nagano Prefecture, it is also famous for its octagonal three-storied pagoda, a National Treasure. The pagoda is said to have been built in the Kamakura period and is the only original octagonal pagoda still standing in Japan. An entrance fee is required to view the pagoda interior. A 14-minute walk from Bessho-Onsen Station.

    Anrakuji, with its impressive wooden octagonal pagoda built in the Chinese Sung architectural style during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333). The pagoda is the only example of its kind left in Japan...

  • Kitamuki-kannon Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Besshonsen 1656
    This Buddhist temple was established in 825 by Ennin, the head priest of the Enryaku-ji Temple. The temple was frequently witness to fires and the current temple was rebuilt in 1721. Unusually for a temple in Japan, the main hall was built facing to the north, and it said that by worshipping here and at the south-facing Zenkoji Temple, one can achieve happiness both in this life and after one’s passing. The grounds contain a sacred katsura tree (Aizen Katsura) that is 1,200 years old and which is revered for the luck which brings in finding marriage. A 12-minute walk from Bessho-Onsen Station.
  • Ichijozan Daiho-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Chisagatagunaokimura Tougou 2052
    "Located around 25 minutes' drive from the Ueda-Sugadaira Interchange on the Joshin-Etsu Expressway, Ichijozan Daiho-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Tendai sect that was built in the Nara period (710-794), and which is one of the oldest temples in the Shinshu region. The temple's three-story pagoda, which was constructed in 1333, came to be known as the ""Looking Back Pagoda,"" because it is so beautiful that people leaving the temple after a visit can't help turning around to have a last look at the pagoda. There are many designated Important Cultural Properties in the temple, including the Zushi (miniature shrine), which is decorated with what are believed to be Japan's oldest Shachihoko (mythical animals with the head of a tiger and body of a carp, used as ornamentation on roofs). The temple's appearance changes with the seasons, with visitors being able to see plum blossom and cherry blossom in spring, azaleas in early summer, and autumn foliage in autumn. In summer, it is sometimes also possible to see Great Purple Emperor, which is the national butterfly of Japan. "
  • Zensanji Temple Three-Storied Pagoda
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Ueda-shi Maeyama 300 Mae Yamadera
    "A pagoda located on the grounds of the Zensanji Temple in Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture. When the pagoda was built is unclear, but based on its architecture, it is believed to have been erected in the Muromachi period. Featuring thatched roofs, the second and third tiers of the pagoda have no balustrades, windows, or doors and are obviously incomplete, but each of the tiers overlaps to create beautiful curves and the pagoda is topped with a stunning kurin finial, and the tower is also known as the ""unfinished finished pagoda."" The pagoda has been designated a National Important Cultural Property. The temple grounds are a renowned flower viewing destination and visitors can enjoy the sight of such seasonal flowers as cherry blossoms and wisteria."
  • Soto School of Zen Shindenzan Chokoku-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Matsushiromachi Matsushiro 1015-1
    This is a Zen Buddhist temple of the Soto school in Matsushiro Town, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, known as the family temple of the Matsushiro clan. It started as Hasedera built in 1547 by Yukitaka Sanada in today’s Sanada Town, Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture, and was later moved and given its current name. The richly colored and ornamental engraved solemn mausoleum is that of Nobuyuki Sanada, and has been designated as one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties. In the grounds is a graveyard for successive feudal lords, a memorial tower for parent and child Yukimura and Daisuke, and a number of temple treasures connected to the Sanada family.
  • Joraku-ji Temple
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    4.0
    41 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Besshonsen 2347
    The head temple of the nearby Kitamuki-kannon Temple, this Buddhist temple was built as one of the three “raku-ji” temples (the Choraku-ji Temple, Anraku-ji Temple, and Joraku-ji Temple) in 825. During the Kamakura period, the temple flourished as a center of Tendai Buddhism. The temple’s principal object of worship, the “Wisdom of Observation Amitabha,” is considered an extremely rare example of its type found anywhere in the country. The Hon-do (main hall) has a rounded thatched roof; behind it stands a two-tier pagoda  that is registered as an Important Cultural Property and which is the spot where the Buddhist statue enshrined in the Kitamuki-kannon Temple in the back is said to have appeared. The Joraku-ji Temple Art Museum  on the grounds exhibits rare and valuable temple treasures such as the Tokugawa Ieyasu Nikka Nenbutsu prayer scroll; a figure of Avalokitesvara; and the Miuraya-zu painting, a National Art Treasure. Closest station: Bessho-Onsen Station.

    常楽寺は北向観音堂が建立された825年日に、三楽時のひとつとして建立されました。ご本尊様は、妙観察智弥陀如来です。

  • Ganshoin
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Kamitakaigunobusemachi Karida 604
    The Buddha is the principal object of worship here at this Soto sect temple in Obuse Town, Kamitakai County, Nagano Prefecture. Ogino Bingo no Kami Jorin, Lord of Karida Castle, laid the foundation stone in 1472, and the Zen priest Futaku Genkei founded the temple. On the ceiling of the main hall you can see the 21 tatami mat sized painting “The Great Ho-O”, painted by Katsuhika Hokusai. As well as this impressive painting there are many other places of interest such as the mausoleum of Fukushima Masanori, a Japanese daimyo of the late Sengoku period, and the pond with inscription where Kobayashi Issa composed his well-known haiku “Thin little frog, Don’t give in, Issa is here”.
  • Saihoji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Naganonishimachi 1019
    It is said that Honen, the founder of the Jodo sect (the first independent branch of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism) who visited Zenkoji Temple in 1199, founded Saihoji Temple. The temple also has a close connection with Tibet when the 14th Dalai Lama visited in 2010. One of the highlights of which was the eye-opening ceremony to the Great Buddha. In the parking lot is an inscription written about the temple by the haiku poet Kobayashi Issa. It is said that the red Jizo statues (stone image of Kshitigarbha, guardian of children) which are not often found in Japan, protect those people having issues with their in-laws. The red color symbolizes protection against evil and the red statue is enshrined here to protect Zenkoji Temple.
  • Daihoji Temple
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    3.5
    6 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Shiojirishi Narai 423
    This temple is a Myoshin-ji Temple of the Rinzai sect and was established in 1582 in Narai, Shiojiri City. Jurojin, one of the seven deities of good fortune, is worshipped here, and this is also a sacred spot visited by those making pilgrimages to various temples. There is also a Maria Jizo, whose shattered head serves as a famous symbol of the suppression of Christians in the Edo period. It is a popular spot for azalea viewing in June and the changing of the leaves in autumn.

    奈良井宿の古い町並みから細い道を入ったところにある。拝観料は100円。 1582年創建の臨済宗妙心寺派の寺院。本尊は釈迦牟尼。 本堂横には「マリア地蔵」が祀られている。十字架を下げ、子供を抱いているが、頭は破壊されてなくなってしまっている。この地蔵は、隠れキリシタンが密かに祈るために作ったと言われているとのこと。 また、本堂裏には庭園があり、本堂の中から見ることができるが、手入れがされておらずひ...

  • Shinkoji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Sanadamachiosa 8100
    This temple is in Sanadamachiosa, Ueda City. Kosetsusai Daihakuji Temple is said to have been built in the Muromachi period, and the older brother of Masayuki Sanada (Yukimura Sanada’s father), Nobutsuna Sanada, transferred it to its current location, added several new buildings, and renamed it Daihakuzan Shinkoji Temple. After Nobutsuna’s death, Masayuki declared the area a memorial, and Nobutsuna’s wife’s tomb is still here.
  • Hasedera Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Sanadamachiosa 4646
    Located in Sanadamachiosa, Ueda City, this temple was founded as the Sanada family temple by Yukitaka Sanada in 1547. After Yukitaka’s death, Yukimura Sanada’s father, Masayuki Sanada, expanded the temple; it was destroyed by Tokugawa clan after the Siege of Ueda in 1600. It was rebuilt and destroyed twice thereafter, and the current structure was built in 1978. The public Sanada tomb on the temple grounds contains the graves of Yukitaka Sanada and Masayuki Sanada, and some Sanada fans come to pay their respects.
  • Motozenkoji Temple
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    4.0
    78 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Idashi Zakouji 2638
    This temple is in Zakoji, Iida City. It is said to have been established in Yoshimitsu Honda’s hometown when he encountered Amida Buddha on his way to the capital in the 10th year of Empress Suiko’s reign (602). Afterwards, the Amida Buddha was transferred to Nagano City, where it is currently, and became established as Zenkoji Temple, which was named after Yoshimitsu. Visiting only Zenkoji Temple or Motozenkoji Temple is considered “unbalanced worship,” so many worshipers visit both.

    This is a must to visit site in the region. A very historical temple that comes in compact size that make it easy to see around. This temple is the original temple of the famous Zenkoji temple in...

  • Shibu Takayakushi
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Prefecture Shimotakai gun Yamanouchi cho Shigubashi Onsen
    You’ll find this temple in Shibu Onsen, Yamanouchi Town. This is the last stop for visitors traveling to all nine public baths in Shibu Onsen. Bathing in all the springs and ascending the 78 stone steps from the ninth spring, “Shiba Oyu,” is said to ward off danger, promote safe and healthy childbirth, and grant long life and youth, among other benefits.
  • Shoujuan
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Iyamashi Iyama 1871
    This Zen monastery is located in Oaza Iiyama Kamikura, Iiyama City. Dokyo Etan, the son of Yukimura Sanada’s older brother, Nobuyuki Sanada, became a monk when he was young and traveled to many temples in Tohoku and elsewhere. After training, he returned and founded this monastery. His disciple, Hakuin Ekaku, is said to have achieved nirvana here.
  • Kozenji Temple
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    4.5
    14 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Kisogunkisomachi Fukushima 5659
    Kozenji Temple, which contains Minamoto no Yoshinaka’s tomb and the biggest rock garden in the East, is one of Kiso’s three famous temples. There’s a well-known second-generation Shigure-zakura cherry tree planted by Minamoto no Yoshinaka himself, and it is illuminated every year from mid- to late April, giving it an almost ethereal appearance. This temple is about 25 minutes on foot from JR Kiso-Fukushima Station or five minutes by car.

    The temple grounds are free and open to the public. In the autumn the colorful leaves should make this a popular destination and we were surprised to be the only visitors there on a beautiful sunny...

  • Zensanji Temple
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    4.0
    43 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Maeyama 300
    Zensanji Temple is said to have been initially opened in 812 as a sacred place where the monk Kukai is said to have honed his Homa ritual. The three-story “incomplete complete tower,” whose exact date of construction is not clear but is said to have been the beginning of the Muromachi period, is quite famous. You must try the temple’s famous homemade walnut bean cakes available in the temple kitchen reception room every year from the vernal equinox until around the end of November. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the Ueda Sugadaira Interchange on the Joshin-Etsu Expressway.

    上田市にあるとても静かな古刹です。薬医門をくぐると三重塔、本堂があり、とても静かな境内です。三重塔は未完成の完成といわれる美しい塔で、本堂はかやぶきで、とても趣のある建物です。

  • Chuzenji Temple
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    4.0
    11 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Maeyama 1721
    Chuzenji Temple was built nearly 800 years ago (toward the end of the Heian period), and it is said to be the oldest temple not only in Nagano Prefecture, but the entire Chubu and Kanto regions. It has been designated an Important Cultural Property (structure). It is surrounded by trees and has a calm atmosphere that lets you feel the history of the place.

    龍光院から徒歩約15分、4-11月に運行している「信州の鎌倉シャトルバス」で別所温泉駅から約10分です。 鎌倉時代前期に建てられた長野県最古の木造建築物である薬師堂は、国指定の重要文化財です。丸味を帯びた茅葺屋根は優雅な雰囲気を醸し出しています。格子戸からは平安時代の作品である、やはり重要文化財の薬師如来坐像を拝むことができます。また、薬師堂の前には素朴な仁王堂があり平安から鎌倉期のものである...

  • Kozenji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Komaganeshi Akaho 29
    Kozenji Temple contains ten halls and is widely revered as the dwelling place of many deities of the South Shinshu region. It was established in 860 by Honjo Shonin and was mainly built to worship Acala, the God of Fire. The temple is undergoing renovations and maintenance until 2020, so some pathways have been changed. Make sure to confirm in advance. It’s about 10 minutes by car from the Komagane Interchange on the Chuo Expressway.
  • Kotokuji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Kisogunnagisomachi Aduma 605
    This Rinzai Zen temple is in Tsumago-juku, a nationally Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings. National Route 256 runs through the area. Founded in 1500 during the Muromachi period, it is part of Kiso’s Seven Gods of Fortune pilgrimage (Ebisu) and the 21st of the 49 Sacred Chubu Yakushi Sites. It’s on a stone rampart above the main village, so you can see out over all of Tsumago-juku from the precincts. This is great in the fall when the autumn colors along the Kisoji Road are in full swing. The white walls, the impressive hedge, and the venerable weeping cherry tree before the gate, said to be over 250 years old, are all highlights. The temple has also preserved treasures like an antique palanquin, said to be the forerunner of the rickshaw.

Nagano Main Areas

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Nagano prefecture is an exciting mix of mountains, hot spring monkeys, and preserved Edo history. At the heart of the Japanese Alps, Nagano is one of the country's most popular destinations, whether in winter for its snow sports and the much-loved Jigokudani Monkey Park or in the warmer months for discovering the undulating hills on foot. For fantastic Edo architecture, head to the Kiso Valley for a 60-kilometer stretch of quaint wooden buildings that marked the Nakasendo route 200 years ago.

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