Suggested Itineraries


A Journey to the Origin of Zen in Japan

From Kaga City area, a road trip in the charming valley of Yamanaka Onsen until the cradle of Zen Buddhism, Eiheiji Temple. The best time to go is from spring to autumn.

Time Required: 4h30m

A drive to Eiheiji Temple

One of the most convenient ways to explore the local area is to rent a car on arrival at Kaga Onsen station. Aside from the pleasure of driving through the Japanese countryside and enjoying the beauty of the picturesque scenery at your own pace, you will also be able to visit exceptional places that are a little off the beaten track.

Start your trip by exploring the town of Yamanaka Onsen. This small jewel of a town sits in a lush valley surrounded by Japanese pines and cedars. The Kakusenkei Gorge (1), encasing the winding Daishoji river, is a magnificent spectacle running through the heart of the town. We recommend you start your excursion by Kurotani Bridge. On your way, you can admire Ayatori Bridge and its metal structure, and stop for a break at the Kawadoko Café (2) before eventually arriving at the charming Korogi Bridge.

Located less than 30 km from Yamanaka Onsen, Eiheiji Temple is one of the most important religious centres in Japan. It is the centre of Soto Buddhism, which over time became the country’s leading school of Zen Buddhism. The best way to get there is via the mountain roads, passing through the small village of Takeda, before arriving at Eiheiji. The village has several attractions, including an exceptional house, the Senko no Ie, which has been listed as an Important Culture Property since 1966. The origins of the building date back to the Middle Ages, and since then it has been magnificently preserved. You can also try their delicious home-made soba, available only by reservation. The village is equally known for its famous deep-fried tofu restaurant, Taniguchiya, founded in 1925. It is not uncommon for waiting times here to exceed one hour, but in the meantime you can visit the Seko-no-Ie.

Visitors are often impressed when they arrive at the Eiheiji temple (3). The site is spectacular, situated in the middle of the mountains surrounded by a forest of pines and cedars, from which the roofs of the numerous temple buildings protrude. Visitors can explore the site while respecting certain rules: no photography of the monks in training, wear discreet clothes, keep silent. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world come to discover one of the most important religious sites of Zen Buddhism.

Recommended Places (4h30m)