2015-06-15

Otagi Nenbutsuji | The Temple of 1,200 Statues in Kyoto, Japan

The Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple in Kyoto, this land is famous for its collection of 1,200 Rakan statues with various poses and shades, which delight and contemplate visitors.

Of the 1,600 Buddhist temples in the city, Otago Nenbutsu rarely appears in Kyoto tourist lists (Japan). Perhaps that's why this is still a hidden area of ​​unexpected and mysterious fun that you will not regret coming here. Nestled far away from the romantic Arashiyama neighborhood, Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple or Kyoto buddha temple is located on a hill west of Kyoto, which is famous for its famous bamboo forest, a very popular tourist attraction in Japan's ancient capital. But not many tourists come to visit Otago Nenbutsu-ji. Therefore, you can freely explore the temple without worrying about being jostled or suffocated like other places.

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Kyoto Buddha Temple


The temple has up to 1,200 Rakan carvings made of stone with many different poses and shades: cute, scary, sad, serene, bizarre... interwoven with interesting humor. In 1980, it was with the presence of these special statues that the temple became famous. Now, these special statues are scattered in the shady area among the small shrines. Many statues are covered with moss or broken, making the space more magical and turning the visitor's journey into a journey to uncover hidden mysteries.

If other temples and pagodas show solemnity, in this temple, the lively funky features of the statue collection bring excitement to visitors. Many people who come here have played a game of trying to find the small stone statues that most resembles their face. You can see buddha stone statues holding old tennis rackets or portable tape players, a child kneeling or two people raising a glass of sake and laughing… You will be very surprised to see a “drinking couple” in one of them. This ancient temple? Funny buddha stone statues will take you from surprise to surprise.

Besides, the temple is also associated with a fascinating historical story. Born in the 8th century, sometime later, the temple was destroyed by flood and fire. People moved to build Otagi Nenbutsuji in a safer location in 1922. But disaster struck again in 1950, Otagi Nenbutsuji was devastated by a powerful storm.

Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple

In 1955, the monk and sculptor Kocho Nishimura took up the position of abbot at Otagi Nenbutsuji, beginning a plan to restore and transform the temple's art. After more than 30 years, the "brainchild" was born 1,200 sculptures in the 1980s. The stone statues are the "children" of amateurs from all over Japan, who come to the temple to learn sculpting from Nishimura. The monk "proposed" to them to create unique characters hidden in the stone. With that topic, the artists had different ways of thinking and each pursued their own creative ideas.

First Photo credit a2zumac
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Photo credit Trout Monroe
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Photo credit Amy Jane Gustafson
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Photo credit Marisoleta

Different from the solemnity often found in temples, the lively fun of the statue collection brings excitement and laughter to visitors. A popular game among temple visitors is to find the statue that most resembles their face.

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Photo credit Marisoleta
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Photo credit Steve Zdawczynski
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Photo credit Steve Zdawczynski
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Photo credit Steve Zdawczynski
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Photo credit Jack
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Photo credit Trout Monroe
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji - Kyoto | Video
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple Google Map

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Photo credit a2zumac

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