Finding Yourself The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

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Whimsical and Unique, have you heard of this Japanese temple in Kyoto? Click here to find out more! .................Japan travel | temple | Kyoto | nature | things to do | culture | kawaii

One of my favorite rakan. It seems he has just got back from getting a haircut.

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

“Another temple?!” Everyone groaned. It seemed that if we weren’t eating, we were visiting temples. We loved Kyoto, but we were almost templed out. There are so many to see, all unique, all wonderful. There are just too many. Even I was a little leary that the Otagi wasn’t going to live up to my expectations. How different could it be? I’d first found a mention of the temple on one of the many blogs I read trying to keep up with the unusual things to do in the world, and I’d written it down. I do this a lot, and sometimes I go and sometimes I never get to these special places.

Visiting the Peaceful Otagi Nenbutsu Temple

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

Like most temples, the Otagi Nenbutsu is peaceful and beautiful, but it has the added pleasure of all the rakan to discover.

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

Devon rings the bell at the Otagi Nenbutsu Temple in Kyoto.

The Otagi Nenbutsu Temple is located a little out of the way. We drove to it along a pretty canal and some traditional houses. At one point the road was so narrow we weren’t sure if we were still going the best way. We probably weren’t; we were following our self-important, thinks-she’s-hilarious GPS. After a few minutes, though, we pulled up to a small, dirt parking lot next to a creek. There were no other cars there, so already we were a little happier not having to fight yet more crowds.

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

This group of pious rakan look content even though their hair is getting a bit unruly.

Whimsical and Unique, have you heard of this Japanese temple in Kyoto? Click here to find out more! .................Japan travel | temple | Kyoto | nature | things to do | culture | kawaii

The entry fee is a mere 300 yen (less than $3.00). As soon as we walked through the gate, we started smiling. We smiled the whole time we were there. I’ve never been to a more fun temple. From our first short walk up to the beginning of the temple to wandering around and investigating every nook and cranny, we smiled. This is because the temple is filled with rakan, which according to the Japan Times, are short and stubby real-life renditions of human characters. Each one has its own personality, and we had the best time trying to find one that we thought could represent us.

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

Traditional thatched roof covers the Otagi Nenbutsu temple.

Whimsical and Unique, have you heard of this Japanese temple in Kyoto? Click here to find out more! .................Japan travel | temple | Kyoto | nature | things to do | culture | kawaii

The dragon protects the spring, drink at your own risk!

Finding Yourself at Otagi Nenbutsu

The little people are everywhere. There are over 1200 of them and even though they are covered in all kinds of moss, they are not older than about 30 years. The Otagi Nenbutsu Temple originally was in a more central location where the Empress Shotoku commissioned it to be built, but was then plagued by disasters like floods and tsunamis so was moved to Arashiyama. When it was moved, the temple invited the people of Japan to donate and even carve their own rakan, so they did and they included things like their cats or sake.

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

Erika has found her match, a music playing, cell phone lover just like her.

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

See the resemblance?

The Whimsical Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, Kyoto

It took some searching but I finally found myself!

We meandered through the temple grounds finding many rakan that could represent us. That one has a child; I’m a mother. That one has a beard; it looks just like Jim. That one is holding a cat. That one is smiling large. That one is talking on the cell phone. Every one we found was completely different than the one next to it. Although some were in pairs. It was really fun.

I’m not sure how long we spent marveling at the rakan and their personalities, but we finally pulled ourselves away and went back to the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto.

Practical Information:

How to get there:  A simple bus ride from Kyoto is all it takes.  Don’t miss out on this amazing temple.

Have you been to the Otagi Nenbutsu Temple in Kyoto?

Pin the Otagi Nenbutsu Temple, the best in Kyoto for later!

Whimsical and Unique, have you heard of this Japanese temple in Kyoto? Click here to find out more! .................Japan travel | temple | Kyoto | nature | things to do | culture | kawaiiWhimsical and Unique, have you heard of this Japanese temple in Kyoto? Click here to find out more! .................Japan travel | temple | Kyoto | nature | things to do | culture | kawaii

Whimsical and Unique, have you heard of this Japanese temple in Kyoto? Click here to find out more! .................Japan travel | temple | Kyoto | nature | things to do | culture | kawaii Whimsical and Unique, have you heard of this Japanese temple in Kyoto? Click here to find out more! .................Japan travel | temple | Kyoto | nature | things to do | culture | kawaii

6 Comments

  1. I’m used to seeing temple statues in more somber moods. Those rakan are very up to date. Moss and lichen hair definitely gives them character.

  2. My kind of temple – quirky and a bit different! My only trip to Japan was just Tokyo but I hope to make it to Kyoto someday – and this temple.

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