Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple (あだし野念仏寺)

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Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple in Kyoto unveils a hauntingly beautiful secret—about 8,000 unmarked small Buddha statues, standing as silent witnesses in its cemetery. This sacred ground, established in 811 by Kukai, tells a tale of reverence and remembrance. The well-preserved bamboo grove behind the temple provides a serene backdrop, offering a perfect escape from the crowds. A stroll through the Toriimoto area’s ancient streets enhances the experience, while cherry blossoms in spring and vibrant foliage in fall add seasonal charm. Accessible via an hour’s walk from Arashiyama, Adashino is a hidden gem awaiting discovery amid Kyoto’s cultural treasures.

Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple may be a very scarely temple. The Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple cemetery is a collection of about 8,000 unmarked small Buddha statues (graves) found in this area. They which line the path leading to the main hall. The area of Torii-moto, where the old streets still remain, was once called Adashino, one of the three major funeral sites in Kyoto.


According to legend, the Temple was founded in 811 when Kukai buried the remains of dead (wind burial was the custom in this area), buried 1,000 stone Buddhas to make offerings to the dead. Then he built the Gochisan Nyoraiji Temple with a stone statue of Gochi-nyorai. Later, Honen opened a Buddhist temple here, and the name was changed to Nenbutsuji Temple.

About 8,000 unmarked graves were excavated during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and arranged as seen in the Temple today. According to historical research, the gravestones excavated at the site date from the Heian, Kamakura, Muromachi, and Edo periods.

Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple official WEB site

Behind the temple is a well-kept bamboo grove. Unlike the famous Arashiyama bamboo grove, few tourists come here. If you like to take some photos of bamboo path, this place may be better. You can take fine shots without many tourists in the frame.

Bamboo grove

The temple is also a beautiful place to see cherry blossoms in the spring or fall.

Tour courses to visit Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple

Adashino is about an hour’s walk from Arashiyama. Along the way, starting from the World Heritage Site Tenryuji Temple, there are small but beautiful temples such as Gioji Temple and Jojakkoji Temple.

Nearby spots

The Toriimoto area surrounding the temple still retains its old streets, and is a pleasant place to stroll.

Adashino is close to Arashiyama and Sagano. You can visit many spots.

Gioji Temple, with its beautiful fresh greenery and autumn leaves, hides a sad story from the Heian period. Gioji is a sub-temple of Daikauji Temple, which is also not very far.

The standing statue of Shakyamuni Buddha in the main hall of Seiryoji Temple is a national treasure. It came from India.

Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is often confused with Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple. But these two Nenbutsuji Temples are completely different temples. Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is further up the mountain, past the first torii of Atago Jinja Shrine. The arhat statues that now fill the Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple grounds were carved by ordinary visitors to help with the reconstruction.

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  2. […] along Atago Kaido Highway leading to Atago Shrine via Kiyotaki. There you find the approach to the Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple. The first torii gate of Atago Shrine stands at the […]

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