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Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

愛宕念仏寺

Otagi-Nenbutsu-ji Temple is located in an inconvenient secluded area in Sagano, so there are relatively few people there and you can visit the temple quietly. The principal of the temple is a statue named Yaku-yoke Senju Kannon, the thousand-armed Kannon Boddhisattva that protects against bad luck, created in the middle of the Kamakura era (1192-1333), at approximately the same time that the main hall of the temple was once again rebuilt. This temple features 1,200 carved statues that now cover the hillsides. These are rakan, the followers of Buddha, created by everyday people who made a pilgrimage to learn carving. Some rakan are posed deep in serious prayer, while others are smiling, laughing, or holding objects that hint at the carvers’ hobbies and passions. Nowhere else in Japan can you find such an eclectic mix of religious figures that combine both the sublime and the earthly.