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Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple, Kyoto

#37 of 688 in Historic Sites in Kyoto
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Though this hidden gem has some very unusual sights to offer, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple often goes unnoticed amongst the region's huge variety of temples. Here you'll find over 1,200 mossy "rakan," stone sculptures of the Buddha's enlightened disciples, each with its own unique facial expression. Originally founded in the 8th century, the temple has been repaired and moved many times over the years, having faced destruction from both flooding and civil war. The statues were donated by worshippers in honor of the temple's most recent refurbishment, carved by amatuers between 1981 and 1991. You can spend plenty of time inspecting the various depictions of those alone, before even getting to the modest but intricate spiritual structures themselves. To visit Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple on your trip to Kyoto, use our Kyoto travel route builder website.
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Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple reviews

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281 reviews
  • Love this temple. It have so many unique craved stone statues, each are unique and their own personalities. Seems the stones were craved by visitors to the temple many, many years ago. Many stones...  more »
  • Quiet and quaint little temple north of the Bamboo Forest and Kimono Forest. You can catch the bus from Arashiyama station and then exit Atagoteramae station. I believe it's only $5 to enter the...  more »
  • Great and enriching place to visit. This place has a rich history and tons of buddha carvings that has different expressions. Great photo spots. Transport is a bit hard though. You can take bus 94 from bamboo grove and it stops directly outside. Costs 300 yen to enter and the place takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Recommended if you have the time.
  • Visiting this temple was a beautiful experience. The walk to get there from Arashiyama tram/train station will soon bring you far from the tourist mass. You'll find cozy shops, cafes and restaurants on the way. The temple grounds are beautiful, covered in moss and with hundreds of very expressive statues. Read the pamphlet to know more about their story; you will enjoy it more. Definitely worth a visit!
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