wandering zenkoji temple at daybreak

in Pinmapple2 months ago (edited)

central structure of the temple complex

welcome to the main building of zenkoji in the city of nagano, japan.

The history of Zenkoji temple started in 642, when Yoshimitsu Honda enshrined a Buddhist Image at the present site.
The image has been believed to lead all the people to the Buddhist Pure Land regardless of their status, gender or creed. It has been earnestly worshipped by many people from those in power at the time to the common people. The main image was completely hidden from the people in 654, and since then no one has ever been allowed to see it.


so how did i end up here from tokyo?

well, here is the story.

one fine day night on the second weekend of february, my friends and i decided to go on a journey: a journey of all journeys. let us call it the great three-day-because-it-was-a-holiday-journey. perfect! technically it was planned months before. (i just exaggerated it much to seem like it was done on a whim). people my age would now prepare journeys before getting into one (i would limit spontaneous ones to a day trip).

the overnight bus with a fellow passenger doing some stretching on the side
so, we hopped on a bus at night. slept on the bus for a few hours; i tend to sleep less on overnight bus rides for i enjoy getting down on all the bus stops and see what the service area has to offer to trip goers like me. after a few more stretches and a little bit of snores (hopeful that it wasn't that loud), we finally arrived at the beautiful city of nagano before daybreak.

an early view of a road with the snowy peaks up a head

in my eyes, nagano is like a stopover city before going on hikes to the mountains. yes, mountains surround the city. natural onsen (hot spring) towns are also just within the vicinity. nagano is the major city you last step foot on before embarking on a more natural and laidback journey to the countryside or to the mountains.

some view of old houses covering the rising sun out of sight

like the others, we are also here just for a short stop. too early for the next ride, we headed to a temple for some zen.

rising sun hitting the facade of this japanese theater

walking on empty streets before sunrise is very refreshing. i don't always get to experience this serene feeling often. although a city, the air seems to be a bit fresher and a lot colder. oh! it must have also snowed in here the same time it snowed heavy in tokyo.

temple gate with guardian statues on each side

it was quite a long walk, enough to wake your sleeping muscles and mind. this temple gate officially marks the entrance of the temple complex. notice those two statues on each side of the gate, those are called nio and are said to be guardians of buddhism. they are commonly seen on temple entrance gates all around japan.

closed shops on cobbled streets inside the complex

there were a couple of people already there as well, the early birds shall i say. with the inner courtyard entrance right in front of us and the mountains at its back, we traversed these age old stone streets for the final stretch. how many historical figures must have traversed these same stones we are on?

stone lantern in front of the rising big ball of fire

the place is very peaceful. your troubled heart will find a bit of peace in this place. this must also be gorgeous at night when all these stone lanterns are lit.

entrance to the inner courtyard

just look at that massive wooden structure. the main temple just peeking through the gates. to preserve something of this scale must be extra difficult.

ema or wooden wish tablets

like other temples, this also gives out paper fortune forecasts and has ema for your wishes for the year. with the amount of these tablets hanged, hope most of them came true. if you work for them, i'm sure they will eventually.

looking out from the inside

the main temple monk made some early rounds when we got there. people bowed down before him and asked for some blessings. you can see a glimpse of his back in the picture above, the one under the orange (or is that red?!?) parasol.

on the way back out, roof was covered in snow

on the way out, people were starting to get in. the place was getting lively. we headed out after we welcomed the sun.

here is a small video as a recap of everything.

Edited using InShot
Music: Endless Dreams
Musician: ASHUTOSH

stay safe and embrace the sun!

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all content is by yours truly unless otherwise specified

all photos are taken with a galaxy s23 ultra


ay wow, naka una ug post hahaha
visiting the temple before the crowds go in is so nice! it was probably the first for me and i like it. no pressure to stay in one place or what.

would have a different view when crowds pour in na.

Ang ganda tlga ng japan 😍

iba din appeal niya sa pinas. hope you can come.

I enjoyed my Willer Bus overnight ride from Osaka to Tokyo and also loved the stopovers.

oh that is a lot farther than mine but the stopovers will surely be great

Oo I think it was 10 hours from Tokyo to Osaka. Naiwan ako ng overnight bus from Tokyo kaya dun na natulog sa Shinjuku McDonald's XD.

oh no. what an experience. parang nalito at nawala ka pa ata sa laki ng shinjuku station nyan a.

Oo nalito nga, it was my first time solo travel kaya madaming ganap sa Japan. hahaha

balik na ulit. di ka na malilito nyan

Nakabalik ako in the same year during autumn naman, Tokyo in 9 days. XD

Wow Japan. I feel I'm in Japan too while I'm reading! What a stunning place! Love it!

oi thanks. that was to intention, to make you feel like you are there walking along with me.

the atmosphere and view of the Zekonji Temple are very beautiful, I like seeing the typical Japanese natural nuances there, it is an extraordinary view

yes it really is. fresh!

That's such a nice temple! I bet it's a unique experience for anyone out there despite Asian people being more used to this kind of building!

it is unique to me in the sense that it was my first with a great pile of snow before sunrise. i still get floored by massive wooden structures.

Wow, these photos of Zenji's central temple is breathtaking! The history of the temple, which began in 642, is shrouded in mystery. Your nighttime adventure from Tokyo to Nagano, documented in vivid photographs, conveys a magical atmosphere. Thank you for sharing this unique experience😍

Wow! Ka nice sa mga places imong na visit Bro.

thanks teh. sharing lang din sa mga pinuntahan

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