Rokuharamitsu-ji

Buddhist Temple in Southern Higashiyama

An important Buddhist pilgrimage stop, this temple was founded in 963 by Kūya Shōnin, who carved an image of an 11-headed Kannon and installed it in the temple in the hope of stopping a plague that was ravaging Kyoto at the time. The temple itself is unremarkable but the treasure house at the rear contains a rare collection of 15 fantastic statues.

The most intriguing statue in the temple's collection is a standing likeness of Kūya, staff in hand and prayer gong draped around his neck, with a string of tiny figurines parading from his gums. Legend holds that while praying one day, these manifestations of the Buddha suddenly ambled out of his mouth.


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