Solo in Kyoto – Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple,

Solo in Kyoto – Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple,

Easily one of  my favorite temples. Ever. I’ve seen a lot of temples too! You can find a plethora all over Asia. Each country has their own style when creating them, but none of them seem to have the heart or character Otagi Nenbutsu-ji has.

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

 

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue,

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is a temple of healing, fitting since it has had a rough go over the last few centuries. Originally established in the Nara period (766), this temple has been destroyed many many times, usually by floods and typhoons. It wasn’t until this century that the rebuild finally stuck and the temple is holding up well against the elements. A monk/Buddhist sculptor, Kocho Nishimura,  was put in charge of the reconstruction worked tirelessly and by the early 80’s his repairs were taking form. Over the next decade, worshipers would come and carve a Rakan and place it on the temple grounds.

Rakan

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue,

Rakan are considered disciples of Buddha and each have their own personality but usually show a playful attitude. The temple is covered with 1200 of these adorable little guys and you can’t help but smile when you walk through! As time passes, the Rakans are becoming covered in moss. The moss gives them an almost Chia pet appearance. You can’t help but love each of them!

There are drinking buddies and pet lovers. You will find some that a squishing their cheeks and doing handstands. What I love most is, these statues were carved by individuals expressing themselves at their happiness. What a wonderful concept. A temple dedicated to being your true happy-self.

As you enter the temple, the goal is to try and find a Rakan that speaks to you; carries similar traits to you. I have been to this temple three times so far. Each time I visit I find myself in different sculptures but I have a few favorites that always make me smile.

Do you see a Rakan that speaks to you?

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue,
I found this guy on my last visit with my mom.

 

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue,

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue,
This little “nana” is one of my favorites. She just looks to be the sweetest little lady.

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue,

 

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue,

 

otagi Nenbutsuji, otagi nenbutsu-ji kyoto temple, arakan, moss temple, japan, buddha, rakan, happy statue, Torii gate, Toriimoto
When you see this Torii, continue up the hill and onto the main road.

Useful Info

This temple is a bit of a walk to get to. After walking past what seems to the be, the last house on the historic street, Toriimoto, continue up the main road. You will walk past a parking strip and on the left-hand side you will see the entrance.

Fee :¥300

Time: 8am – 5pm

12 Comments
  • Rachael says:

    Ashley! These photos are gorgeous!
    I’m off to Kyoto for the fall leaves in 10 days! I definitely need to check this temple out. Where abouts in Kyoto is it?

  • Michelle says:

    I’m of Chinese heritage and am so used to Chinese (and Indian) temples but Japanese temples are truly something else. There’s just something so….instantly peaceful about them. I love how each Rakan is an expression of the artist’s happiness – the sweetest thing!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      I haven’t been able to visit China or India yet. So far every other country I have visited, the temples are all uniquely different and beautiful, but I agree. The Japanese temples have a special quiet to them that really makes you want to linger within them longer.

  • Otagi Nenbutsu-ji looks amazing! I’m heading to Kyoto in January, so it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in the middle of the winter!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      I’ve been in October, November, and late December (around the holidays) and it was beautiful each time. The moss is not as vivid is the only difference I can remember.

  • Indrani says:

    The photos are fantastic… kindles a desire to see them in real.
    Nobody clears the moss growth? Is it deliberate or on purpose?

  • Soraya says:

    What a gorgeous spot to visit, I think I would absolutely love visiting this temple, especially in the fall. The Rakans are gorgeous and I kept smiling while looking gat their photos on your post. I love how they are so full of character and you can read their emotion. I can see why this is one of your favourite temples.

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      Thanks for stopping by Raya! I happy that you were able to catch some of the feeling this place gives off through my photos. That is always my number one goal.

  • Love the rakans you captured and still can’t get over how beautiful your photos always are. I was just in Kyoto last year but I missed this, what a shame. Definitely coming back if I ever get the chance to.

  • Forever Fernweh says:

    Jasmine, it is an easy one to miss honestly. It is a hike and off by it’s lonesome in Arashiyama. I hope you get to visit again though. Seeing Japan through the different seasons changes everything!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *