[Nostalgia Touring Spot] [Nagano Prefecture] Bike trip to Zenkoji Temple! A solo trip on a Harley to Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta.
This time, I toured by motorcycle from Tokyo to Zenkoji Temple in Nagano.
I covered about 300km on my beloved Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide.
Zenkoji is one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples and is a place full of history and culture.
This time, I would like to introduce what kind of place Zenkoji is, how to get there, what kind of attractions there are, and what kind of motorcycle parking lots there are.


What is Zenkoji?


Zenkoji is the head temple of the Honganji sect of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, located in the center of Nagano City.
It is said to have been built during the Heian period, and houses many valuable buildings and Buddhist statues, including national treasures and important cultural properties.
Particularly famous is the statue of Amida Nyorai enshrined in the main hall.
This statue is a secret Buddha statue that is only shown to the public once every 20 years, so being able to see it is a very rare opportunity.
Zenkoji Temple is also included in the pilgrimage route to the Shinano Thirty-Three Kannon Sacred Sites and the Shinshu Saikoku Thirty-Three Kannon Sacred Sites, and is visited by many believers and tourists.

Route to Zenkoji Temple


From Tokyo to Nagano, take the Shuto Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line via the Kanetsu Expressway and then onto the Joshinetsu Expressway.
On the Joshinetsu Expressway, head towards Nagano from Fujioka JCT.
After getting off at Nagano IC, enter Nagano city via Prefectural Route 35 or National Route 117.
Zenkoji Temple is about 10 kilometers away via Prefectural Route 399 and Prefectural Route 37.
There are also sightseeing spots along the way such as Higashiyama Kaiikan and Zenkoji Peace Park.

Highlights of Zenkoji Temple


There are many things to see at Zenkoji Temple, including the main hall, Daishoin, Niomon Gate, and Sanmon Gate.
In the main hall, you can see the statue of the secret Buddha Amida Nyorai.
Also, the omikuji'' andomizutori” inside the main hall are popular.
Omikuji'' is made using a unique method of reaching out and pulling the fortune through a hole at the back of the main hall.Omizutori” involves drinking water drawn from the well in front of the main hall, and is considered one of the “Seven Wonders.”
At the Daishoin, you can see the calligraphy and paintings of successive chief priests.
Niomon and Sanmon are stately gates that have been designated as national treasures.
At the Niomon Gate, there are impressive statues of Nio, and at the Sanmon Gate, statues of the Four Heavenly Kings and the Twelve Generals are displayed.

Motorcycle parking lot at Zenkoji Temple


Zenkoji Temple has a paid parking lot for motorcycles.
I also parked my motorcycle at the Zenkoji Daiichi Paid Parking Lot.

The fee is 300 yen for one time parking.


This time, I toured by motorcycle from Tokyo to Zenkoji Temple in Nagano.
I was able to experience history and culture by driving about 300 kilometers.
Zenkoji Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, and is full of attractions such as the statue of Amida Nyorai, the secret Buddha, and the National Treasure Gate.
If you go by motorcycle, you can use a nearby paid parking lot, but be careful when it’s crowded.
There are many other attractive spots in Nagano Prefecture, such as beautiful nature and delicious food, so I would definitely like to visit again.