The Road to Zenkoji
See for Yourself to Truly Understand
Zenkoji Pilgrims and Their Stories
"You should visit Zenkoji at least once no matter what.” All you need to enter the Pure Land is to visit Zenkoji at least once--at least, that’s what has been said about Zenkoji since ancient times. Zenkoji is the only Buddhist temple that is “non-denominational” in its practice, and this attracts visitors of all kinds, regardless of faith, gender, or societal status.
The visitors of Zenkoji leave behind all kinds of stories that are passed down and inspire the visitors of today--funny ones, sad ones, and oftentimes emotional ones. These stories feature all the characters you could imagine. Of course, there are the typical worshippers and monks, but also prostitutes, thieves, and even animals such as cows and snakes that appear in the stories too.
This guide is not about Zenkoji Temple. Rather, it’s about the road leading up to the temple. First, let’s walk about 2 kilometers from Nagano Station towards Zenkoji. As you walk, you can experience the stories of past visitors, and you’ll understand why Zenkoji has been cherished by all kinds of people.