Zenkoji Temple is a historic Buddhist temple located in the city of Nagano in Japan. It is one of the oldest and most important temples in Japan, with a history dating back to the 7th century.
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According to legend, the temple was founded in 642 when a statue of the Buddhist deity Amida was discovered in a nearby stream by a monk named Zenko. The temple was built to enshrine the statue, which is still the object of veneration today.
Zenkoji has a unique feature that sets it apart from other Japanese temples: its statue of Amida is not on display to the public. Instead, it is kept hidden behind a secret door and is only shown to the high priests of the temple. Visitors can, however, see a replica of the statue and explore the temple’s many other treasures.
One of the most popular features of the temple is the “Key to Paradise” ceremony. This ceremony involves entering a pitch-black passage under the temple’s main hall while holding onto a key, which is believed to grant entrance to paradise. The experience is said to be a form of spiritual purification.
The temple grounds are also home to a number of other historic buildings, including a pagoda, a bell tower, and a lecture hall. The surrounding area is also known for its beautiful natural scenery, making Zenkoji Temple a popular destination for both spiritual and nature tourism.
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