Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple 化野念仏寺
Experience the eerie beauty of 8,000 statues dedicated to lonely souls
Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple is said to have been founded by the venerable monk Kukai around the 8th century. It is believed that the approximately 8,000 stone images and pagodas here commemorate the souls of those who died without kin. The area has been used as a place for funerary rites since ancient times, when bodies were left to the elements. Later, bodies came to be buried, and stone images were placed to honor the dead. Many of the images were scattered and buried throughout the area. In the middle of the Meiji era (1868-1912), locals and temple officials gathered the images in the temple precincts and lit candles to worship them. This is the beginning of the annual Sento-Kuyo ceremony.
- A walk through the scenic Sagano area
- The Sento-Kuyo ceremony on the last Saturday and Sunday of August
How to Get There
The temple is accessible by train or bus.
Take the Kyoto Bus from Hankyu Arashiyama Station bound for Kiyotaki the Toriimoto bus stop. The temple is a five-minute walk away.
Trains also depart Kyoto Station for Saga-Arashiyama Station. From there, it is a scenic 25-minute walk to Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple.
Prayers of the lost dead
In the middle of the Meiji era, an event began to make offerings to the Buddhist images collected on the temple grounds. Thousands of candles illuminate the numerous stone images, creating an otherworldly scene. Called Sento-Kuyo, the ceremony is held on the last Saturday and Sunday of August every year. Participants pay 1,000 yen to receive a brochure and candle.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.