Tsuruoka is the only city in all of Japan to be home to two Five-Storied Pagodas, the most famous of which can be found on Mt. Haguro, but Zenpoji is also home to one. This large Buddhist temple was first established in 938 and is believed to be where Naga and Nagi, two divine serpents reside.
Thousands of fishermen from across the country visit Zenpoji each year to pay their respects to the guardians of the ocean and in hopes of a safe and bountiful harvest. Zazan meditation and Shojin Ryori, the traditional diet of buddhist monks, can be enjoyed here.
The large complex of this temple features many buildings to explore and is a must sea for those with a fascination and appreciation for Japanese temples. There are also four daily prayer sessions that are free and open to the public here where you can see dozen of priests in the main shrine in Zenpoji Temple.
The schedule for the daily prayer session is as follows. Each prayer session lasts for approximately 30 minutes.
Zenpoji Temple lies at the base of the Mt. Takadate mountains on the outskirts of Tsuruoka City.
This location once had a direct train that serviced this temple, but now the only way to reach here is via taxi or rental car.
〒997-1117 Yamagata-ken, Tsuruoka-shi, Shimogawa, 字関根100
Fees and reservations may be required for entry into the temple and for Shojin Ryori.
Shojin Ryori at Zenpoji Temple
Zen Meditation and Shojin Ryori at Zenpoji Temple
Zenpoji Temple offers a special Soto Zen experience led directly by the monks of this temple.
Learn more on their experience page found here.
The interior of Zenpoji Temple