Monday, December 04, 2006

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

Since getting back from my trip, I've been spending all my spare moments working on my Flickr photo collection. Adjusting brightness and contrast, tagging, uploading, organizing... very time consuming. And I've only got 116 photos to show for myself so far, covering just the first three days of the trip. It'll be deepest winter by the time you get to see my autumn leaf pics...

Anyway, it is true, I'm obsessed with Flickr. In fact, Flickr helped me plan my trip. I tossed aside the Lonely Planet and Fodor's guide books and instead flipped though the Kansai, Kyoto and Osaka photo pools. Had it not been for one particular photo (which I can no longer find, sorry), I never would have heard about Otagi Nenbustu-ji.

Otagi Nenbustu-ji is in northwestern Arashiyama, a fair hike uphill from Adashino Nenbutsu-ji. There's no way you would just wander by and go in for a look; only deliberate visitors make it there. Otagi's point of interest is the collection of 1200 carved Buddhist figures, called rakan. Each rakan was carved by a different person and the diversity in their shapes, expressions and decoration is really very cool. It's a delight to see them all.

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji 2

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

There are rakan with cameras, with animals, with guitars, with beer... there's even a kendo guy.

As you can see, having hundreds of little stone faces staring up at me brought out some silly behaviour:

Blending In

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