Zenkoji events

Visitor's Guide to Zenkoji Gokaicho

Zenkoji Gokaicho

Gokaicho - Chunichi-teigi Daihoyo Special Services

Once every seven years,'the Zenkoji Temple Maedachi Honzon Gokaicho' event is held for fifty-seven days from Sunday, April 5 to Sunday, May 31.
See the Outline of Gokaicho to learn more about Zenkoji Gokaicho.

Click here to visit the Gokaicho Hosan Association homepage.

The latest information for visitors will be shown on this page, including the main hall visiting hours and restricted visiting dates, as well as parking lot information.

Outline of Gokaicho

Zenkoji Maedachi Honzon Gokaicho

Once every seven years

Gokaicho is a ceremony held once every seven years. Many people all over Japan visit and pray to the Maedachi Honzon statue, a replica of the temple's hidden principal image, placed in the Main Hall during the events. It is held from April to May. About 6,730,000 people visited Gokaicho in 2009.

Every Gokaicho, the ‘Eko-bashira Pillar’ is donated by the people of Matsushiro township and erected in front of the Main Hall. The lord of Matsushiro, who ruled the Matsushiro area in the old days, managed the current main hall’s construction. Eko-bashira Pillar and Maedachi Honzon are connected by the "rope of good", for those who touch the pillar it tells you mercy of Buddha.

The Zenkoji Temple Maedachi Honzon Gokaicho event is held for fifty-seven days from Sunday, April 5 to Sunday, May 31.

Information on parking lots around Zenkoji
(as of February 2015)

During the Gokaicho period, No. 1 and No. 3 parking lots are for general visitors, No. 2 and No. 4 parking lots are exclusively for visitors staying at Shukubo accommodations.
Click here for the information (in Japanese) about the boarding area for tour buses recommended by Nagano City office and temporary parking lots in the suburbs.
(This information is correct as of February 20, 2015. Please check again shortly before your visit, as there may be some changes due to unforeseen circumstances.)

Major Events during the Gokaicho period(as of September 2014)

Before, after, and during Gokaicho events, admission may be temporarily limited in certain areas used for the Hoyo services or for other reasons.
Detailed information will be provided as soon as it is known. Please check the information before your visit.

March 29 (Sun)Eko-bashira Pillar Receiving CeremonyIn front of the Main Hall2:30 p.m.
April 3 (Fri)Eko-bashira Pillar Set-up CeremonyIn front of the Main Hall1:00 p.m.
April 4 (Sat)Maedachi Honzon Welcoming CeremonyMain Hall3:00 p.m.
April 5 (Sun)Kaibyaku Daihoyo Special Services for Unveiling the StatueMain Hall10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
April 11 (Sat)Zenkoku Zenkojikai Oneri Daihoyo Special Services In front of the Main Hall2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
April 25 (Sat)Chunichi-teigi Daihoyo Special Services
(Tendai Sect)
In front of the Main Hall10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
May 5 (Tue)The 93rd Butto Hana-matsuri Festival
(Nagano-shi Buddhist Organization)
In front of the Chureiden pagoda11:30 a.m.
May 9 (Sat)Chunichi-teigi Daihoyo Special Services
(Jodo Sect)
In front of the Main Hall10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
May 11 (Mon)Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of 2011 Memorial Hoyo ServicesMain Hall2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
May 17 (Sun)Shinonoi Lion DanceIn front of Sanmon Gate1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
May 27 (Wed)Hosankai Daihoyo Special ServicesMain Hall11:00 a.m.
May 31 (Sun)Kechigan Daihoyo Final Special ServiceMain Hall110:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
June 1 (Mon)Maedachi Honzon Returning CeremonyMain Hall1:00 p.m.

The main hall opens regularly before April 4 and after June 1, whether Gokaicho-related events are taking place or not.

Schedule of the services during Gokaicho
(as of July 2014)

Receiving Holy Beads
(Ojuzu Chodai)
Morning Services
Receiving Seals
(Goinmon Chodai)
April 5 thru 245:50 a.m.Around 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.8:30 a.m. to Sunset
April 25 thru May 31
Except May 15
5:20 a.m.Around 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.8:30 a.m. to Sunset
May 155:00 a.m.Around 5:10 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.8:30 a.m. to Sunset

Yuza Hoyo services start at 5:00 9.m. every day. (Finish at about 5:20 p.m.)

While Gokaicho main events are being held, visitors might be temporarily denied access to the main hall.

Traffic information during the Gokaicho period
(as of July 2015)

In Nagano city, the roads and parking lots are expected to be very busy during the Gokaicho period, especially in the area around Zenkoji Temple. For this reason traffic regulation will be enforced at this time.

Please check the traffic information in advance, especially if you are visiting by car.