Daihonzan Eihei-ji

Buddhist Temple in Fukui

In 1244 the great Zen master Dōgen (1200–53), founder of the Sōtō sect of Zen Buddhism, established Eihei-ji, the 'Temple of Eternal Peace', in a forest outside Fukui. Today it's one of Sōtō's two head temples, a palpably spiritual place amid mountains, mosses and ancient cedars. That said, day trippers visiting the complex of over 70 buildings might not find the constant throng of visitors and activities as peaceful as they might desire.

Aspirants affiliated with a Sōtō Zen organisation can attend Eihei-ji's four-day, three-night sanzen experience program, which follows the monks' training schedule.

The compound is often closed for periods varying from a week to 10 days for religious observance. Sanrō temple stays cost ¥8000 per night and must be booked a month in advance.

To get to Eihei-ji from Fukui, take the Keifuku bus (¥720, 30 minutes, hourly); buses depart from the east exit of JR Fukui Station.