Legend claims there are five white doves hidden in the plaque of the San-mon gate; the five short strokes in the characters for Zenkō-ji...
One of Zenkō-ji's gates.
A music spot popular with jazz lovers for its live shows; check the website for schedule info.
A stone's throw from Zenkō-ji on Nakamise-dōri, unassuming Marusei serves soba and tonkatsu among others; the generous Marusei bentō ...
491 Motoyoshi-chō · interesting places nearby
Founded in the 7th century National Treasure Zenkō-ji is home to the revered statue Ikkō-Sanzon, said to be the first Buddhist image to arrive in Japan (AD 552). Not even 37 generations of emperors have seen the image, though millions of visitors flock here to view a copy every seven years during the Gokaichō Matsuri. Zenkō-ji's immense popularity stems partly from its liberal welcoming of pilgrims, regardless of gender, creed or religious belief. Its chief officiants are both a priest and a priestess. The current building dates from 1707.
Any bus from bus stop 1 in front of JR Nagano Station's Zenkō-ji exit will get you to the temple (¥100, about 10 minutes, alight at the Daimon bus stop).