What is Zenkoji Gokaicho Soba Manju? Very Rare Thing!

A few days ago, I went for a drive to Nagano for the first time in a while to see how the city was going. It was Sunday, and as expected, there were many people at sightseeing spots.

After looking around several places by car, I stopped by a souvenir shop to hunt for something appealing and found these things.

Nagano Souveniers Zenkoji Temple Soba Manju and Yawataya Isogoro Kara-Gosho Shichimi Togarashi

One is Zenkoji Gokaicho Soba Manju, and the other is Kara-Gosho Shichimi Togarashi from Yawataya Isogoro, which are both very rare!

Are you curious about these? In case some answer yes, I will detail what they are. This time, let me write about the former.

Zenkoji Gokaicho Soba Manju

Nagano Zenkoji Temple Gokaicho Soba Manju

As Zenkoji Gokaicho Soba Manju consists of two parts, let’s break it down and see each to make it easy to understand.

Let me tell you in advance. The first part is Zenkoji Gokaicho (善光寺 御開帳), which is very rare, but the latter, Soba Manju (そばまんじゅう), isn’t. 

What is Zenkoji Gokaicho?

Zenkoji Temple Nagano

You may know Zenkoji (善光寺) (Google Map). It is a nationally famous Buddhist temple in Nagano City, established in 644.

Meanwhile, Gokaicho (御開帳) means to open the gate of the Zushi (厨子: small-size altar for enshrining the Buddha statue) to let the general public see a treasured image of the Buddha.

In general, Gokaicho rarely takes place. In the case of the Nagano Zenkoji temple, doing it is once every seven years. (this time: April 3, 2022, to June 29, 2022).

What is Soba Manju?

Zenkoji Temple Nagano Gokaicho Manju Cake

You may know Soba Manju. It is a variety of the wagashi Manju cake/bun using buckwheat flour. It comes steamed or baked with Anko (餡子: sweetened bean paste) inside.

Some Soba Manju contains buckwheat flour in its dough, but this baked one uses it in the Anko (Shiro-An) filling.

Soba Manju itself is not uncommon, but the Zenkoji Gokaicho is, so as a result, these sweets are super rare and maybe super lucky. So may this article.

Zenkoji Gokaicho Soba Manju


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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