August 18th, 2010
From Tokyo we went to Nagano, the city that hosted the 1998 Olympic Winter Games and as soon as we arrived at Nagano Station we spotted a poster dedicated to these games, showing how the hosting changed perspectives for Nagano.
We stayed at the Nagano Holiday Inn Express and after checking out our rooms and leaving our luggage we went out for some sightseeing around town.
We went to see a little sqaure where the inauguration of the winners of the Olympic Winter Games had taken place and it was really strange to actually see the blocks the sportsmen had stood upon while they were given their medals.
But the most important touristic attraction of Nagano would be the Zenko-Ji Temple, the most important Buddhist site here. The Zenko-Ji hasn't just been a religious site but has actually served as a military base used in the 16th century.
To get to Zenko-Ji we passed the Niomon Gate accompanied by two impressive guardian statues. Inside the compound there are the statues of the Rokujizo, the six Bodhisattvas, or Botsatsus in Japanese, which are believed to have given up their own enlightment for the salvation of others and from an important symbolic part of the Zenko-Ji Temple.
At the temple we witnessed a traditional cleansing ritual practised before entering the Zenko-Ji which was very interesting as well.
After our stay in Nagano which was filled with more sightseeing and of course some shopping unfortunately it was time to travel back to Tokyo from where we would have our return flight.
Nagano was in a way the highlight of our trip because here the world championship of long distance ice skating was held, the main reason for out trip to Japan. The races started on the 6th of March and lasted four days. On the 9th we headed back to Tokyo.
Did you enjoy Zenkoji Temple Nagano and have you been on a holiday in Nagano City, Japan?
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