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Temples of Iiyama

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Temples of Iiyama


A city of temples in Japan’s picturesque snow country

Shinshu Iiyama Tourism Bureau



Far in the north of Nagano Prefecture lies Iiyama, a city of rolling countryside, long-held traditions and nostalgic villages. With around 20 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, many historically significant, it is also sometimes called Little Kyoto, a name given to it by the literary master Toson Shimazaki.


Iiyama’s Atago district is home to so many temples and altar shops, it is often nicknamed Buddhist Altar Street. To ensure you don’t miss any, a dedicated promenade connects each one, allowing you to walk your own tour, while also enjoying the city’s architecture, much of which is uniquely designed to withstand the area’s heavy winter drifts of snow.


Particularly beautiful when surrounded by the changing color of autumnal leaves, learn more about Japanese Buddhism through the various experiences offered by Iiyama’s temples. Try a vegetarian Buddhist meal at Daishoji, a temple founded by feudal lords in the 16th century, take a meditation class in Jofukuji’s Zen meditation hall, or visit the stone garden of Shonenji.


How to get there


15 minutes walk from JR Iiyama Station.



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