Try eating, sleeping, and praying like a monk at Zenkoji, a Buddhist temple high above Nagano City.
Perched atop a hill overlooking Nagano City is the 7th-century Buddhist temple, Zenkoji, an imposing wooden edifice of gold-trimmed sloping roofs and spiritual iconography fronted by a large temple precinct. It is one of Japan’s most important Buddhist monuments, famous for a statue of Buddha said to be carried from a lake in Osaka on the back of the temple’s founder, Yoshimitsu Honda. The statue still resides deep within the building though all human eyes are forbidden to look at it. Honda was also incredibly progressive as Japanese temple founders go, maintaining that from Zenkoji’s inception, men and women would be given equal standing and worshipping rights—a far cry from the prevailing wisdom at the time.