It is said that Kobo-Daishi (or Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism (the esoteric school of Buddhism specific to Japan), himself built this temple in 825 (a few years after Dainichibo Temple). With Dainichibo Temple, they constitute the pillars of the Shingon Buddhism practice around Mt. Yudono.
This is where you will find Tetsumonkai's mummy, the most famous sokushinbutsu of them all. Tetsumonkai was born in 1789 and died in 1830 at the age of 71. He entered Churenji Temple at the age of 21. Feeling remorse for his past crimes (he murdered two soldiers as an act of self-defense), he chose to serve the people by becoming a Buddhist monk. He led his training further by undertaking the sokushinbutsu training, which he successfully accomplished to the end.
Apart from the mummy, you will find a strange pop-art ceiling with dozens of pop culture icons painted in bright colors, and a 200-year-old Sakura tree: the Shimekakezakura.
To go there with the public transportation, get on the bus bound of Ochiai 落合 (timetable in Japanese) and get off at Asahi Chosha mae 朝日庁舎前. Make a transfer to the Asahi Shiei Van Bus 朝日市営バス bound for Oami 大網線 (timetable in Japanese) and get off at Oamikyokumae 大網局前.
Walk 5 minutes up to Dainichibo Temple. From Dainichibo Temple, follow the paved road to Churenji temple (30 minutes walk).
Entrance fees: 500 yen per adult (300 yen per child)
May to October: 9:00 to 17:00
November to April: 10:00 to 16:00
Closed days: None