The temple

Transcription of the Buddhist Sutras


Gifu Zenko-ji used to enshrine Japan’s first statue of Buddha introduced from China. This statue, called Ikko Sanzon Amida Nyorai (Amida Triad with One Halo, commonly known as Zenko-ji Nyorai), was originally the principle image of Shinshu Zenko-ji temple and was worshiped by various people because of its auspiciousness. During the Warring States Period (1493-1590), each feudal warlord scrambled for this statue either for protecting their fiefs or as a symbol of power. One of them was Oda Nobunaga who almost unified Japan during this period. When he conquered the Gifu Castle and set his base there, he also brought this statue to Gifu to pray for the peace of the town. After his death, this statue changed hands among several warlords including Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu (Nobunaga’s successors) before returning to Shinshu Zenko-ji. Later, the Zenko-ji hall was established to commemorate the Shinshu Zenko-ji Nyorai and the new statue has been worshiped there as the original statue since then.


The history of Gifu Zenko-ji dates back to 1582 when Nobunaga brought the Zenko-ji Nyorai from Shinshu. In 1891, the temple suffered a massive earthquake and was completely destroyed. However, its principle statue survived the disaster because then chief priest carried it out of the temple. After that, Daishido (hall for a revered priest) was constructed but it was destroyed in order to thin out buildings during World WarⅡ. Sixty-eight years later, this building is currently under restoration and will be complete in 2013.

You can experience...

【Transcription of the Buddhist Sutras】
This activity is held at 9 a.m. on the 1st and 15th of each month. You will transcribe a Buddhist sutra such as Hannya shingyo with an ink brush and offer your work to our principle statue. In a quiet atmosphere, you will face your inner self while transcribing every single character of the sutra in order to relax and attain peace of mind. We will provide all necessary tools. Fee: 1000 yen

Kurayami Gohan: Sensory Meal】
You will have an opportunity to contemplate food and life by eating food in the dark. Eating food means to consume life. However, we tend to only focus on filling up our stomach in our busy life. In this experience, you will lose your sense of vision but your other senses will become sharper, making it possible for you to perceive a subtle taste, scent, and texture you would not normally feel. You will earn a renewed perspective about what it means to take life and eat in order to live.

【Heavenly Chopsticks】
You will learn about Buddhist teachings through a meal using a pair of more than 1meter long chopsticks. You will find it impossible to eat food with these overlong chopsticks but they can turn to heavenly chopsticks if you devise a way to effectively use them. Buddhist teachings tend to be difficult to comprehend with ears but you will be able to understand them more substantially through this hands-on experience. (Appointment required)

Name Gifu-Zenkoji Temple
Address 1-8 Inabadori,Gifu-city
Credit card Not accepted
Telephone (+81)58-263-8320
Parking For 10 Cars

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