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Friday, March 9, 2007
'Crying dragons' part of Yamanashi temple tour
By RAJU THAKRAR
Interested in Buddhist temples? Then sign up to a 2-hour tour -- in English -- given by the Yamanashi Interpreter and Guide Society (YIGS) of Zenko-ji Temple in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on March 11. Kofu is 90 minutes by Limited Express from Shinjuku Station.
The first 20 Japan Times readers to apply will go for free on the tour, which includes an hourlong visit to Furinkazan Museum.
Visitors from outside Yamanashi will receive a free commemorative present. Regular admission on the tour is 500 yen.
Zenko-ji Temple was built in 1565 by Takeda Shingen, then the ruling daimyo (feudal lord), who transferred all the Buddhist images and priests from the original Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano to their present Yamanashi location, as he feared that the Nagano temple would burn to the ground during one of his battles with his archrival Uesugi Kenshin.
The main hall has been designated an Important Cultural Property and is one of East Japan's biggest wooden structures. The Nakiryu (Crying Dragon) building is so-called because when hands are clapped inside, the noise is said to sound like a dragon crying. The tour also includes a walk through Okaidan Meguri, a pitch-black cloister.