Japan, Nagano Guide (B): Zenko-ji Temple Nagano
“Oh this isn’t so bad,” I thought as we entered the tunnel. But as we walked further and further, the air became thick with black and eventually I couldn’t even see John in front of me anymore. My grip tightened around the edge of his jacket as he led us deeper into the darkness. I’m not a fan of not being able to see my own hand, but exploring a passage under the altar of one of the most famous temples in Japan is an experience I just couldn’t miss out on.
Nestled in the valley of Nagano city, against the backdrop of apple orchards and snow-capped mountains, Zenko-ji (善光寺) temple boasts a 1400-year history and an annual visitorship of 7 million. It is believed that if you visit the pilgrimage shrine just once in your lifetime, you will be granted salvation and passage into the afterlife.
It was the first afternoon of our spring vacation; the students are off enjoying the holidays (well, as much as they can amidst the extra classes and club activities) and John and I had decided to take a few days off to finally make the trip up to Nagano; seeing the famed snow monkeys of Jigokudani Park was on both of our bucket lists. In the end, we planned a 5-day trip starting in Nagano, heading east to Tochigi and then down to John’s place in Ibaraki. ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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