Wednesday, October 23, 2019

1,200 stone statues representing every aspect of life in Japanese temple

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan has a collection of 1,200 statues with countless unique poses and expressions, taking visitors from one surprise to another.

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Amidst 1,600 of the city's Buddhist temples, Otago Nenbutsu-ji is not a familiar name listed in guidebooks or tourist websites of Kyoto (Japan). However, visitors will not regret adding temples to their exploration. Photo: Nic_chan35, Briancassella.

Tucked away from the beautiful Arashiyama neighborhood, Otago Nenbutsu-ji Temple is nestled on the hill west of Kyoto. The area is also famous for its famous bamboo forest, the top attraction for the ancient capital of the rising sun country. However, not many tourists visit Otago Nenbutsu-ji. Therefore, you can freely explore the temple without worrying that the overcrowded will make to lose interest like in other tourist destinations. Photo: Fryr26, Kindalink.

The temple has a huge collection of 1,200 stone Rakan sculptures. Each statue has its own posture and expressive face: cute, scary, sad, serene, bizarre ... mixed with interesting humor. With the appearance of special statues in 1981, the temple became famous. Photo: Jaredeng, Otterstravel.

Today, quirky statues are scattered in a shady area between small temples. Many statues are covered by moss or broken. However, this only adds fanciful to the ambience and makes visitors feel like they have discovered the forgotten treasure. Photo: Thetravlsalesman, You_ji_low.



Different from the solemnity often found in temples, the lively fun of the collection of statues brings excitement and laughter to visitors. A popular game for visitors to the temple is to find the statue that most closely resembles their face. Photo: Miaggera, Aimeeteegarden, Yin.jerrie, Tinanguyen_11.




Discovering around, visitors will find a statue of holding a tennis racket or an old portable tape player, a child kneeling, or two people raising a sake cup and laughing happily ... Who would have expected to see a "drinking couple" in a temple? The unlimited creative ideas of the statues will take visitors from one surprise to another. Photo: Bec635766.

Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is not just an interesting destination for wandering around. It also contains thrilling historical stories. The temple was founded in the 8th century. Some time later, the temple was devastated by floods and fires. People build Otagi Nenbutsuji in a safer place in 1922. Unfortunately, disaster struck again in 1950, Otagi Nenbutsuji was devastated by a storm. Photo: Aimeeteegarden.

In 1955, the monk and sculptor Kocho Nishimura assumed the position of abbot at Otagi Nenbutsuji. He began plans to restore and transform the art for the temple. After more than 30 years of perseverance, the result of the project is 1,200 sculptures made public in the 1980s. Photo: Michael Lambe.
The statues are works of amateurs from all over Japan, coming to learning sculpture from Nishimura. Monks "set out" for them to create unique characters hidden in the rock. Before that challenge, the artists have different reactions and each people pursue their own breakthrough ideas. Photo: Michael Lambe.

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