Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple
4.5
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The temple, originally called Otagi-ji Temple, was first built in the Otagi District (The central part of present-day Kyoto) by order of Emperor Shotoku in the latter half of the 8th century. At the beginning of the Heian period (794-1192), the temple building was washed away when the Kamo River flooded. The temple was reestablished by Senkan Naigu (918-984), a priest of the Tendai sect, and became a branch of Enryakuji, the Tendai temple complex on Mt. Hiei. Over a period of three years beginning in 1922, the temple was transfered to its present location in the Saga District, in order to preserve it. The temple has a wonderful array of 1,200 carved stone figures of Rakan (disciples of Shaka, the founder of Buddhism) made by people from various parts of the country from 1981 to 1991 for the reconstruction of the temple.
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Neighbourhood: Western Kyoto
Western Kyoto is home to some of the city's best eccentricities. Kyoto's Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street takes visitors back in time to the Meiji Period, where old homes have been transformed into tea houses and eateries. Pleasure boats drift down the riverbank, under wooden bridges that beckon nature lovers to hiking trails and botanical walks. The area's famously tall bamboo groves, monkey park, and impressive vistas during the Hanami cherry blossom viewing season mean that it is busiest in warmer months, though also gorgeous in the fall, when the mountains and hills along the banks turn multi-colored. Historic and engaging, even the rail cars in Western Kyoto seek to exemplify its traditional nature and scenic beauty. Many people, including natives, come to visit the 1,200 rakan statues at the Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple, which is still in use as a religious site.
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See what travellers are saying
  • Jacqui F
    London, United Kingdom310 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A magical temple set into the hills above Arashiyama
    It’s a bit of a hike or bus ride to get to this Buddhist temple, but so worth it. You can catch a bus from Arashiyama station, but they are not very regular, so you need to time the train to coincide with a bus. Or you can walk 37 mins uphill. Once you arrive, getting into the temple complex costs just 300 Yen per adult. This isn’t a particularly old temple, so don’t expect to feel transported by the ancient spirituality of the place. The temple was founded in the 8th century but brought here in the early part of the 20th century since it had suffered a lot of damage in its former location in Kyoto. It suffered yet more damage here and was rebuilt in the 1950s by priest, and amateur sculptor, Kocho Nishimura. And here’s where the magical element of the temple comes in. Nishimura had the genius idea of asking visitors to sculpt a statue for the complex. These were placed all around the temple, on the paths leading up to it, beside and behind it, up to the early 1990s. Each one is different, obviously. Some are contemplative. Some funny. Look out for the one playing with a cat. Now moss-covered and aging the statues look more ancient than they are, but they are all intriguing. The temple itself is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. And, after you’ve had your fill of little statues, you can walk down through the pretty streets with small shops, to the Bamboo Forest and the rest of Arashiyama’s charms.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 September 2023
  • Jessica S
    Tampa, Florida525 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very cool stop! Must visit when in Kyoto
    My favorite shrine in Japan across two trips. We got there early so it was very peaceful and that may make a difference. Such a worthwhile drive from central Kyoto. It’s a really special place with lots to see. You can enjoy and hour or relax for half a day. This was also a favorite stop for our 4 and 6 year olds. The statues each have their own personality popping through and there are many places to discover within the area.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 30 September 2023
  • Holder DJ
    Beijing, China35 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique temple for sculpture lovers
    While others are crowding in the area where the monkeys are, if you continue driving along in the mountains you come to this temple. There are more than a thousand sculptures in the rakan style, mostly made by amateurs under the guidance of a master sculptor. This is a small temple which doesn't take much time to walk through, but you can spend a good couple of hours looking at each individual statue, as no two are alike. The variety of expressions and styles makes this a great place to appreciate the care and creativity that went into each statue. And because there weren't many people visiting at the time, it was a nice, quiet place to stroll through. There were also many surprising statues. We discovered statues with baseball bats and tennis rackets, one with what looked like an old Walkman, and many with just highly comical expressions. All in all, well worth the visit.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 October 2023
  • T D
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania4,179 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique Temple with hundreds of stone carvings
    This unique Temple was in the Western part of Kyoto - a bit out of the way but worth a trip. The hundreds of stone figures of various Gods are beautifully carved. Many of them are now covered in moss, which adds to its beauty. Entrance fee is 300 Yen. We stopped by there on an afternoon and it wasn’t packed with tourists since it’s not as well-known. My suggestion is stopping by here while visiting Arasiyama (5 min car drive away).
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 26 December 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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T D
Philadelphia, PA4,179 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Couples
This unique Temple was in the Western part of Kyoto - a bit out of the way but worth a trip. The hundreds of stone figures of various Gods are beautifully carved. Many of them are now covered in moss, which adds to its beauty.

Entrance fee is 300 Yen. We stopped by there on an afternoon and it wasn’t packed with tourists since it’s not as well-known. My suggestion is stopping by here while visiting Arasiyama (5 min car drive away).
Written 26 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Holder DJ
Beijing, China35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
While others are crowding in the area where the monkeys are, if you continue driving along in the mountains you come to this temple.

There are more than a thousand sculptures in the rakan style, mostly made by amateurs under the guidance of a master sculptor. This is a small temple which doesn't take much time to walk through, but you can spend a good couple of hours looking at each individual statue, as no two are alike. The variety of expressions and styles makes this a great place to appreciate the care and creativity that went into each statue. And because there weren't many people visiting at the time, it was a nice, quiet place to stroll through.

There were also many surprising statues. We discovered statues with baseball bats and tennis rackets, one with what looked like an old Walkman, and many with just highly comical expressions.

All in all, well worth the visit.
Written 13 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jessica S
Tampa, FL525 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
My favorite shrine in Japan across two trips. We got there early so it was very peaceful and that may make a difference. Such a worthwhile drive from central Kyoto. It’s a really special place with lots to see. You can enjoy and hour or relax for half a day. This was also a favorite stop for our 4 and 6 year olds. The statues each have their own personality popping through and there are many places to discover within the area.
Written 30 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jacqui F
London, UK310 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
It’s a bit of a hike or bus ride to get to this Buddhist temple, but so worth it. You can catch a bus from Arashiyama station, but they are not very regular, so you need to time the train to coincide with a bus. Or you can walk 37 mins uphill. Once you arrive, getting into the temple complex costs just 300 Yen per adult. This isn’t a particularly old temple, so don’t expect to feel transported by the ancient spirituality of the place. The temple was founded in the 8th century but brought here in the early part of the 20th century since it had suffered a lot of damage in its former location in Kyoto. It suffered yet more damage here and was rebuilt in the 1950s by priest, and amateur sculptor, Kocho Nishimura. And here’s where the magical element of the temple comes in. Nishimura had the genius idea of asking visitors to sculpt a statue for the complex. These were placed all around the temple, on the paths leading up to it, beside and behind it, up to the early 1990s. Each one is different, obviously. Some are contemplative. Some funny. Look out for the one playing with a cat. Now moss-covered and aging the statues look more ancient than they are, but they are all intriguing. The temple itself is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. And, after you’ve had your fill of little statues, you can walk down through the pretty streets with small shops, to the Bamboo Forest and the rest of Arashiyama’s charms.
Written 2 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Miro
16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
Located a bit away from the center of Arashiyama, maybe 15-20 minutes walk, but it is totally worth it. Such a calm place, without crowds of tourists.
Written 4 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MarkKwok
Vancouver137 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
This temple is further away and is less frequented by visitors. It can be reached by bus (1 per hour) or a 1,000 yen taxi ride from the JR Saga-Arashiyama station.

Despite the area being small, I spent over an hour there as every statue is different. It's a lot of fun spotting the funnier ones.

After visiting the temple, I took the bus (1 per hour) for 1 station to Torimoto, where is where the Saga-Torimoto preserved street begins. One can also walk to Torimoto in about 10 minutes. The area is quaint and charming. There are signs directing visitors to other sights in the Arashiyama area. I visited couple more temples before walking back to JR Saga-Arashiyama station.
Written 1 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Souta Y
Japan11 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
This is recommended because there are few tourists even in the season and you can see it slowly. The more than 500 Rakan statues are interesting because each has a different face and belongings.
It takes more than 30 minutes to walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, so it is better to use a taxi.
Written 6 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

chriscyl
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia137 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
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 are partially covered in moss. The temple is not that big but we lost our time in this temple as we checked out the many stones unique facial expression.

With the red autumn maple trees blooming around this area, it make this temple lovely place to visit. It is about 30-40 mins walk from the Arashiyama bustling town but you can take a bus. The bus stop is directly in front of the temple. We prefer to walk and this temple is our last stop after visiting Jojakkoji temple and Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple. From Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple, it is just a 10 minutes walk to this temple.

Because this temple is located away from the Arashiyama town, the temple is peaceful with few visitors. Another unique temple recommended to visit while at Arashiyama.
Written 22 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
大変有り難いレビューを頂きまして誠にありがとうございました。 またのお越しを心よりお待ちいたしております。 感謝申し上げます。
Written 24 October 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ed H
Ontario, CA116 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
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 temple. There are 1,200 carved statues, each having moss covering a large percentage of the statue. It's a small place and should only take 30 to 60 minutes to see everything. There is also a small temple with 3 large tubular bells that one can ring. I'm going to upload a picture of a tiny egg-shaped statue. Your task is to find it! Let me know if you do. Our visit was before the pandemic so masks and hand sanitizers were not required.
Written 15 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SaoShio
Otsu, Japan388 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
This place is located in the north-west part of Kyoto city, and you had better use taxi to visit here. (There is a public bus service, however, a bus per hour.) You will find so many small stone Buddhas here. (These about 1200 statues were made and donated by people who visited here. ) You will be fascinated by their cute expression.
Written 11 May 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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