Zenkoji is one of the most fascinating and historic temples in all of Japan, with nearly 1,500 years since the original foundation.

The temple’s history dates back to when the very first Buddhist image statue, and the story of Buddhism, came to Japan from India via the Korean peninsula back in the 500s. The Zenkoji Temple was built to safe-keep the statue and whilst this is kept hidden away from even the chief of the temple complex, a replica exists which is presented to the public every seven years, in a huge month-long festival which draws around seven million visitors to the temple.

The temple has an underground tunnel in which is hidden the key to salvation. A trip into the tunnel sure is a shock to the senses – pitch black you can’t see a thing through the winding passage. If you are lucky enough to find the key on your venture down there, salvation is yours. Whilst this is not included in the tour, you may choose to temporarily leave the guided tour to take this experience.

The temple was the first in the country to allow females to enter and pray, which then made it an important pilgrimage site for families. Zenkoji was founded before Japan split into a number of sects of Buddhism, and is now surrounded by 29 sub-temples of these different sects.

On this tour, your knowledgeable guides will show you through the most outstanding features of the temple complex, and you may choose to visit the underground passage for an additional entrance fee. Learn about the interesting history of the temple and Buddhism in Japan, and the tales that have taken place on the land.