Zenkō-ji (善光寺) is a Buddhist temple located in Nagano, Japan. The temple was built in the 7th century. Nagano City, established in 1897, was originally a town built around the temple. Zenkō-ji is one of the last few remaining pilgrimage sites in Japan.
The temple enshrines images of the Amida Buddha. According to legend, the image, having caused dispute between two clans, was dumped into a canal. It was later rescued by Yoshimitsu Honda. The temple was thus named “Zenkō,” according to the Chinese transliteration of Yoshimitsu’s name.
The main Buddhist image is a hibutsu (secret Buddha), a hidden Buddha statue, not shown to the public. This hibutsu is rumored to be the first Buddha statue to ever be brought to Japan. The commandments of the temple require the absolute secrecy of the statue, prohibiting it to be shown to anyone, including the chief priest of the temple.
- Nagano: City of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune (photobento.wordpress.com)