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» The Funeral (sogi) & Other Ceremonies of Remembrance   » Ceremonies of Ordination  
» Major Annual Ceremonies   » Main Temples in Japan    » Virtual Temple of Jodo Shu
Main Temples in Japan
 8. Head Temple: Zenkoji Daihongan Temple
Zenkoji Daihongan
By Yoshimitsu Honda in the 17th
500 Motoyoshi-cho
Nagano 380-0851
This temple is one of the oldest in Japan and is thought to house the Japanese soul. Most people visit it at least once in their lifetime.

Amida Nyorai is the object of worship at Zenkoji and is said to be the first Japanese "Ikko Sanzon" form of a Buddhist statue. Amida Nyorai is standing together with the Kannon Bosatsu statue and the Seishi Bosatsu statue, one large halo covering the back of Amida Nyorai and the other two statues appointed with a round or boat-shaped halo.

The chief priest at this temple has always been a priestess, and there are many interesting temple customs. In one such ceremony, called "Receiving Juzu," the head priestess of the temple passes her own Juzu over the head of a believer. There is also a legend of a believer visiting Zenkoji Temple while being dragged by a cow.

Nagano was home to the 1998 Winter Olympic Games and people continue to visit this old, historic temple from all over Japan, seeking to find the soul of the Japanese.

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