Otagi Nenbutsuji In Kyoto of Cute Arhat and Buddha Statues

Arakan with a happy face.

I can’t help but giggle.

Arashiyama is a popular sightseeing spot in Kyoto.

The deepest part of Sagano, there is a small temple called Otagi Nenbutsuji.

It’s a tourist spot in Kyoto that is also a hidden place to visit for autumn leaves.

Here’s a look at this cute little temple in Kyoto that is a little mysterious.

How To Get Otagi Nenbutsuji

Arashiyama is a famous tourist attraction in Kyoto.

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Crossing the Togetsukyo Bridge, you will find Okusagano, about 3 kilometers in depth.

Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is located here, where you can feel the unique atmosphere.

The photo shows the main hall.

To get to Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple, get off the Kyoto bus at Otagi Nenbutsuji-mae.

Take a bus from Hankyu Arashiyama Station, the closest station to the temple

Buses are also available from JR Kyoto Station and Sanjo Keihan Station.

Take the bus for Kiyotaki and ride for about 20 minutes to the Otagi Nenji-mae stop.

If you want to rent a bicycle near Arashiyama Station, it is recommended to rent an electric bicycle because the road is often hilly.

In the center of the photo is Fureai Kannondou of Temple.

There are not many people who go to Okusagano, so Otagi Nenbutsuji is the best place to see the autumn leaves and sightseeing.

Especially in the morning and evening, you can enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the ancient capital.

The photo is of Jizo Hall.

What are the Highlights of Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple in Kyoto?

Chitose Kannon, Fureai Kannondo and the Bell of Three Treasures.

Otagi Nembutsuji was built in the 8th century.

However, the temple was moved to its present location in 1922.

The temple is relatively new.

The principal object of worship, the eleven-faced thousand-armed Kannon (center of the picture), built in the Kamakura period, is a national important cultural property, as much as the main hall.

Fureai Kannondou and Ema-do are also highlights.

In the hall, a golden Kannon is placed and you can touch it with your hand.

Fureai Kannon (photo) is a gentle buddha who soothes both physical and mental pain with her hands.

Behind Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is Mt.Atago, which is believed to be the “God of Firebreaker”.

The Jizo Hall, which enshrines this deity and has protected the capital of Kyoto from fire since the Heian period, is a must-see for visitors.

The “Bell of Three Treasures” (photo), which stands on the slope of the mountain, is also tasteful.

It is said that the three bells are used to convey the heart of Buddha.

Cute Arhat! Loose-characterized Buddha Statues in Otagi Nembutsuji

The main attraction of Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is its adorable arhats.

Each of then looks like a loose character statue.

These unique arhats.

They open their mouth wide toward the sky, laugh happily, and smile with gentle faces.

There are about 1,200 happy Arhats in the temple.

Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is also known as the “Temple of One Thousand Two Hundred Arhats”.

A Sanctuary of Smiling Power! Arhat at Otagi Nembutsuji

The Arhat at Otagi Nembutsuji Temple is truly unique.

I couldn’t help but giggle at the sight of them.

This is Arhat holding his cat.

Next to him is an Arhat holding a rice bag in each hand.

None of them are the same.

The appearance of the arhat is heartwarming.

This temple is a place where you can get the power of a smile.

They were carved by ordinary visitors to the temple to pray for its recovery.

Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple was originally located in Higashiyama, but it fell into disrepair after a natural disaster.

However, it was repeatedly devastated by natural disasters and other factors, and it wasn’t until 1981 that the temple’s reconstruction began in earnest at its present location.

The temple’s former chief priest called for the temple’s premises to be filled with Arhat statues, and a group of complete amateurs helped to carve them, and 10 years later the number of statues had grown to about 1,200.

The hand-crafted Arhats made by ordinary people are very straightforward and have a charm that draws people to see them.

The Story of Otagi Nenbutsuji to Fulfill the Promise to the Spirit World

An arhats is a disciple of the Buddha.

He was a saint who transmitted the teachings of the Buddha.

In Japan, when many lives were lost in war and other disasters, the Five Hundred Arhats were created to comfort their spirits.

When the previous priest was in the war zone, he dreamed that  thousands of broken Buddha statues were coming out of the ground.

The priest, who was also a Buddhist, thought, “Maybe statues wants me to fix”.

So, he asked the Buddha, “I’ll fix it, so can you go back to Japan?”, then he woke up from dream.

Seems like his hope come true, he could return to Japan and restored the Buddhist statues at Sanjusangen-do, Koryu-ji and To-ji in Kyoto.

He spent ten years fixing the Arhat statues on the grounds of Otagi Nembutsuji.

Although the priest has passed away, he trained as a Buddhist monk in order to fulfill his promise to the spirit world.

Basic Information of Otagi Nembutsuji

Otagi Nembutsuji’s Arhat is very free and spontaneous.

In autumn, the arhat’s head is covered in autumn leaves, which makes us smile.

I wish I could smile like this.


Address: 2-5 Sagatoriihonfukaya-cho, Ukyou-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
Telephone number: 075-865-1231
Access: Kyoto Bus “Otagi Nenbutsuji-mae” (from Hankyu Arashiyama Station, JR Kyoto Station, Sanjo Keihan Bus etc.)
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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