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Tickets for Zenkō-ji Daikanjin Temple

A spiritual experience at one of Japan's most sacred pilgrimage sites

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Overview

Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama at one of the most sacred spiritual sites in Japan, Zenko-ji Daikanjin Temple
  • Enter the dark inner depths of the temple in search of the 'Lock for heaven' and undergo a ritual walk for rebirth
  • Combine this unique experience with Shakyo (sutra-copying), a museum visit, or a special fire-based prayer

Description

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!

Insider tip

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!

Mick
Copy Editor

Ticket

What's included

Access to the Zenkō-ji Daikanjin Temple
Visit of the crypt passage (O-Kaidan) & main hall (Hondō) - 'Walk in the Dark' tickets only
Visit of the inner sanctuary (Naijin) of the Hondō – 'Walk in the Dark' tickets only
Shakyo Meditation (copying a sutra) – 'Walk in the Dark & Shakyo' tickets only, includes information brochure in English
Visit of History Museum, Zenkōji Temple in the Chureiden Pagoda – 'Walk in the Dark & Zenkoji History Museum' ticket only
Goma Prayer ceremony (if selected)
Buddhist talisman which has been blessed by a priest - 'Goma Prayer' ticket only

What's not included

Food and drinks
Pick-up service

Amendment policy

  • Changes are possible for this ticket

Instructions

  • Show your smartphone ticket at Daikanjin Temple Information Center
  • Please check-in 20 minutes prior to the starting time
  • You need to take off your shoes before entering the facilities

Venue

How to get there

Zenkō-ji Temple
491 Naganomotoyoshichō, 380-0851, Nagano
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