The Temple that Faces North – Kitamuki Kannon, Bessho Onsen

Continuing my temples visit in Bessho Onsen, I visited Kitamuki Kannon, literally “Facing-North Kannon”, which is unusual as temples usually faces south. This Tendai sect. temple faces the Buddha statue in famous Zenkoji in Nagano directly and is popular as a love fulfillment spot.


The Only Surviving Octagonal Pagoda in Japan: Anraku-ji, Ueda

Visiting Anraku-ji, the oldest Soto sect. of Zen Buddhism temple in Nagano which boost the only surviving octagonal pagoda in Japan. Located near Bessho Onsen, 30 minutes away from Ueda city, this temple deserves more attention for its history and links to Kencho-ji’s Rankei Doryu.

Art and Gardens at Monzeki Temple, Shoren-in

Shoren-in, a Tendai sect. Monzeki temple, offers a range of enjoyable experience, from its fusuma paintings, garden view from tatami room, garden stroll around a pond – Ryujin-no-Ike, and even a view of the temple and garden from above. The main object of worship here is the Shijoko Nyorai Mandala and the temple even has a painting of a blue Fudo Myo-o which is a national treasure.

Kurama-dera, the Mystical, One-of-a Kind Buddhist Temple

Kurama-dera is rich in history, said to be founded by the disciple of Ganjin (Jiazhen), connected to the Guardian of the North and one of the Four Heavenly Kings, Bishamonten, and was once home to famous samurai Moritomo no Yoshitsune. The temple is unique, having established its own Kurama-kokyo sect of Buddhism, worshiping the trinity Sonten which comprises of Bishamonten, the Thousand-Armed Kannon, and Mao-son, a god unique to this temple.