Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple is an amazing off the beaten path temple with 1200 humorous statues
The Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple in the Saga-Arashiyama area is known worldwide for its 1200 rakan statues of the disciplines of Buddha. Even those who have not heard of the temple have probably seen pictures of it on social media.
The history of the temple starts already in 766, though not in Arashiyama but in Higashiyama. The temple met many natural disasters in its time, and at last the temple in disrepair was moved to its present place in 1922. This didn’t quite work out either, so in 1955 the priest and famous Buddha wood-carver of Kocho Nishimura got the job of restoring the temple. He is the one who came up with the idea to have the worshippers themselves make the rakan statues of which the temple is now so famous.