Take a day trip to visit the ancient temple of Zenpoji where the divine dragon serpents of Naga are believed to reside and watch over the oceans. This temple was originally constructed in 938 by fishermen from across Japan and continues to be visited by thousands of fishermen each year to wish for safe and bountiful harvests of the seas.

This expansive and beautiful temple is open to the public and offers guests the chance to learn about and experience Soto Zen, the largest of the three sects of Buddhism in Japan.

Zenpoji’s enriching experience is led directly by the monks of this temple and will take guests deep into the halls of Zenpoji Temple where we will take part in a session of zen meditation in the same rooms that the monks of this temple train.  This spiritual training is not an intense experience, rather it encourages practitioners to open their minds and learn to accept the world around them. The goal of the meditation is to guide one’s heart and mind towards a state of lightness, unburdened by the weight of our daily lives. Here surrounded by the pristine nature of Yamagata, the stress of your daily life is left behind and the world becomes your guide.

Following this session, you will take a short break before enjoying shojin ryori, the traditional vegetarian cuisine of the monks of Zenpoji for dinner.   Prior to and during this meal, we will learn about the meticulous rules of the ingredients, preparation, and dining etiquette of this spiritual cuisine and how it is a central part of the training and discipline of these monks

This training session will also include a guided tour of the temple with the monks where we will see some the stunning display of artifacts and art accumulated by the centuries of worship and this temple.


LOCATION Zenpoji Temple 
Event Date(s) Year Round
Activity Time 9:00am
Activity Length Approximately 2.5 – 3 hours
Price 10,000 yen/person (minimum 2 people)

Please note that you will need a rental car or taxi from Tsuruoka to reach this location.
A local bus line does operate in this area.

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