Temple sights in Northern Honshū
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Off Rte 112, halfway between Yudono-san and Tsuruoka in the village of Ōami, these two seemingly ordinary country temples house the mummies of priests who have become 'living Buddhas'. The ascetic practice of self-mummification, outlawed since the 19th century, involved coming as close to death as possible through starvation, before being buried alive while meditating.
Both temples are located close to the Ōami bus stop, and there are colourful signs to follow. The mummy at Dainichibō is dressed in bright reddish-orange robes, and is looking rather ghoulish with his leathery skin. From the bus stop, head into the village, make a left at the post office, and continue…