Nagano City is a rather flat, nondescript city in the middle of a natural wonderland of mountains, snow, onsen, and impressive vistas.

While the city itself doesn’t have much to offer apart from being a great base to go to other places, the one big exception is the historic and impressive Zenkōji Temple.

Niomon Gate of Zenkōji Temple

The temple is within easy walking distance of Nagano Station and the central city via the pleasant Zenkoji Omotesando avenue. The first major structure you will come across is the impressive Niomon Gate.

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Nihon-chūreiden (Zenkōji History Museum)

Besides the main hall there are a large number of structures within the precincts of the temple, including a history museum, main gate, and a scripture hall. Admission to the grounds is free, but entering any of the buildings requires payment of an admission fee.

Statues at Zenkoji

If you wish to enter two or more of the buildings, an all areas ticket for ¥1,000 is the best value.

Porcelain lantern Zenkōji Temple