Japan | Kyoto | Arashiyama

Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple and Bamboo Forest Arashiyama Kyoto

Japan Winter 2024

Kyoto | Japan

28 Feb 2024 | Wed

Day 09 of 17

  • Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Walk to Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple
  • Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple and Bamboo Forest Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Walk to Jōjakkōji Temple Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Jōjakkōji Temple Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Walk to Okochi Sanso Garden Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Okochi Sanso Garden Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Kyoto
  • Walk to Nonomiya Shrine
  • Nonomiya Shrine Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Walk Nagatsuji-dori Street at Arashiyama Village Kyoto
  • Togetsukyo Bridge Arashiyama Kyoto
  • Train Back to Hotel

Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple and Bamboo Forest Arashiyama Kyoto

Departing from the peaceful Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple, we set foot on the historic Atago Kaido road. Our day’s journey was unplanned, adding an element of mystery and excitement to our adventure. We knew our path would eventually lead us to the charming Arashiyama Village and the scenic Togetsukyo Bridge in Kyoto, but what lay in between was unknown to us. This lack of prior research made our journey all the more thrilling. The first surprise on our path was the discovery of the Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, a place we knew nothing about its previous history.

Entrance to Adashino Nenbutsuji

As we stepped into the Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, located in the serene area of Sagano in Kyoto, Japan, we were greeted by the sight of more than 8,000 statues. We learned that these statues are not just for decoration, but they hold a deep meaning. They are there to remember the people who passed away without families or were too poor to have a proper burial.

8,000+ Statues Dedicated to Lost Souls from the Past

The temple has a rich history dating back to the 8th century, founded by a monk named Kukai. It’s not just a place of the past, but also of ongoing traditions. Every year, in the last week of August, the temple holds a special ceremony where thousands of candles are lit to honor the spirits of those who have passed away.

Entrance to Bamboo Forest at Rear of Temple Grounds

Surrounding the temple is a beautiful natural landscape, filled with vibrant plants and trees. There’s even a nearby bamboo forest (located at the rear of the Temple grounds). The Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple is not just a place of historical significance, but also a peaceful retreat that offers a unique experience.

Adashino Nenbutsu-ji (化野念仏寺, Adashino Nenbutsuji) is a Buddhist temple in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan. In 811 Kūkai is said to have founded a temple, then Honen altered it to the present Nenbutsuji. Situated high on a hill overlooking the city from the northwest, it sits in an area where since the Heian period people abandoned the bodies of the dead, exposing them to the wind and rain. Now, some eight thousand Buddhist statuettes, which had been scattered around Adashino then collected about 1903, memorialize the souls of the dead. During its well-known ‘sento kuyo’ ceremony dedicated to the spirits of the dead on the evenings of 23 and 24 August, about ten thousand stone statues are lit up with candles.

In its name, Adashino is a place name; Nenbutsu refers to a mantra (recitation of a Buddha’s name).

– Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple > Wikipedia

Gallery | Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple

Gallery | Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple Bamboo Forest

Map | Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple and Bamboo Forest

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