This building is now used as a post office, but before that, it was a long-established inn called Gomeikan, run for generations by town leaders. The streets used to be lined with inns around here, and there was even a pilgrim’s lodging just down the road. Let’s see how visitors who came to worship at Zenkoji spent their time before they went to the temple.
First, upon arriving in town they’d head to the information center and inquire about lodging. The guide would then escort them to the pilgrim’s lodging where a room was already made up, fully equipped with tobacco and a hot bath running. The temple priest managed the lodge and welcomed travelers with a warm smile. “What would you like to do for your offering?” “Would you like a talisman charm?” He treated his guests well to show his appreciation for the difficult journey it took to get there.
The warm hospitality was well received by the travelers who gratefully enjoyed a tasty meal and a relaxing bath before heading out to pray at the temple. In the evening a guide would invite the traveler to Zenkoji, where they experienced the long-awaited “Okomori.” What does that entail, exactly? That’s what the traveler was about to find out as he entered the main hall alongside swarms of fellow worshipers. It was at this time that the street of inns became peacefully quiet.