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Monday, 15 June 2015

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji | The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan

Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. The temple, originally called Otagi-ji temple, was founded in the Otagi District. This Buddhist temple is a pack of many stone figures. The 1200 Rakan figures were carved by worshipers of this temple from 1981 to 1991 to pray for the prosperity of the temple. Different from usual Buddhist figures, these Rakans seem like having been sculpted with humor and fun.

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit a2zumac
The principal image of this temple is Senju Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy with 1,000 hands). People call this temple The Temple of 1,200 Rakan (the stone statues of Buddha's disciples). Otagi Nenbutsu-ji was founded by Empress Shotoku in the middle of the 8th century. Though was destroyed by the flooding of the Kamo River, it was rebuilt as an offshoot of Enryaku-ji, a nearby temple. During a civil war of 13th century, it was again destroyed. The temple was moved to its current location in 1922, later suffering typhoon damage in 1950. After 31 years in 1981 the damage structure was finally repaired, worshippers at the temple decided to donate rakan sculptures to the temple in honour of its refurbishing. A famous sculptor, Kocho Nishimura taught hundreds of sculptors, amateur and professional alike how to carve statues from stone, and the result is a delightful mix of serene and scary, somber and silly.

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Trout Monroe

Otagi-Nenbutsu-ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Amy Jane Gustafson

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Marisoleta

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Marisoleta

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Steve Zdawczynski

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Steve Zdawczynski

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Steve Zdawczynski

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Jack

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit Trout Monroe

Otagi-Nenbutsu-Ji, The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan
Photo credit a2zumac

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