The reason behind building another Zenko-ji in Yamanashi Prefecture
Another Zenko-ji Temple resides in Nagano Prefecture. Due to the fact that the commander in Japan’s civil war, Shingen Takeda, was engaged in battle, there were fears that Nagano’s Zenko-ji would be lost, so another Zenko-ji was erected in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture with the principal image of worship and other treasures being transported to the alternate temple. The newly-placed image of Amida Sanzon-zo is currently withheld from public view and can only be seen once every 7 years during an official public exhibition known as Kaicho. There is a teahouse and a souvenir shop along the path toward the temple which are ideal for that relaxing stroll. Many visitors who go to Nagano’s Zenko-ji also visit the one in Yamanashi Prefecture.
Important Cultural Properties representing eastern Japan
The current buildings of the temple were actually reconstructed in 1796. The Main Hall and the main gate have been recognized as National Important Cultural Properties for their elaborate craftsmanship during the Edo Era. The Main Hall is a grand structure which measures 27m in height and 49m in length and is notable for its protruding roof. The vermilion main gate built standing at the entrance spans 17m in width and is 15m high to also present a grand appearance. As well, the brilliant green pines alongside the path toward the temple and the elegant garden are attractive features.
The highlights of the kaidan meguri and the nakiryu
As with the Zenko-ji in Nagano, you can also experience the kaidan meguri at Kai Zenko-ji Temple. The kaidan meguri is a pitch-black passage in the shape of the kanji character for kokoro or “heart” underneath the Main Hall through which you have to find a lock. Once you have found it, you will be able to encounter the principal image of worship known as the honzon and Paradise. This infinite world of darkness and silence will leave you feeling somewhat unexpectedly weak at the knees. On the ceiling of the Main Hall, there are illustrations of two dragons. This is known as the nakiryu (roaring dragons) and when you clap your hands, the echo that reverberates is said to be the roar from those dragons.