Zenkō-ji Daikanjin Temple has a long and storied history dating all the way back to the 7th century. Thousands of pilgrims visit this sacred site every year in search of enlightenment and good fortune, and now you get to experience its spiritual power for yourself. As well as visiting the temple complex, you can also choose to participate in several unique activities by selecting from four ticket options.
The temple is known for the 'Walk in the Dark' experience. This involves descending into the darkness under the altar, inching your way past a crypt and undergoing a ritual journey for happiness on Earth and in heaven.
The walk is done to form a connection with the oldest Buddha statue in Japan, Eikyu Hibutsu (522), that was designated godly status and hidden from the public eye since 654. Feel your way along the wall, letting your fingertips guide you, and search for the 'Lock for heaven'. This metal handle is located right beneath Eikyu Hibutsu and allows you to indirectly touch the statue. Keep your right hand at hip-level and trace the wall as you walk, or you may miss the lock.
Shakyo + Walk in the Dark experience
Combine this unique experience with another taste of traditional Japanese culture and history. The Buddhist practice of Shakyo is part-calligraphy, part-meditation, and involves copying a sacred sutra to achieve greater mindfulness and clarity.
Museum + Walk in the Dark experience
Alternatively, pair your walk with a visit to the History Museum, Zenkōji Temple in the Chureiden Pagoda to admire a collection of expertly carved statues of Buddha and Bodhisattva figures.
Museum + Shakyo + Walk in the Dark experience
Make the most of your visit by combining all of the above. Visit the history museum, copy a sacred sutra, and walk in the darkness.
Goma Prayer (as a separate option)
You can also opt to include a special 'Goma Prayer' ticket, in which a local monk will present your wishes to the god of preventing misfortune. Cast your negative thoughts and emotions into the fire!
The walk in the dark is an unforgettable spiritual experience, and truly is pitch black. Keep your fingers touching the walls at all times, as this will be your only guide!
Tickets for Zenkō-ji Daikanjin Temple