Candlelight colors the summer night sky
Over a sacred place where 8000 souls are sleeping
The temple is said to have been founded by venerable Kukai around the 8 th century. In the area, funeral rites had been performed since ancient times and villagers prayed to stone Buddhist statuettes remembering the deceased. It is believed that about 8000 stone images and pagodas we see here used to be for the graves of people buried in the area. The place was named "Sai-no-kawara" (riverbed of souls) along "Sanzu-no-kawa" (the River Styx) that is said to be between the Pure Land and this world.
Kiyu-no-ma in the building exhibits flowers and other things of the season for free appreciation. Their philosophical and aesthetic arrangement offers artistic pleasure. Outside, the scenery of the season, such as cherry trees in full bloom, bamboo groves, and colored leaves, makes us feel the spirit of nature.
Sento-Kuyo is held on August 23 and 24 every year. Candles are lit for the deceased buried in Sai-no-kawara with no one to tend the grave. Thousands of candles illuminate numerous stone images creating Pure Land scenery. Participants pay 1000 yen and receive a brochure and a candle.
Address: 17 Sagatoriimoto-adashino-ch, Kyoto Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Hours open to visitors: 9:00–16:30 (vary depending on the season)
Admission Fee: 500 yen for admission
Closed: No fixed holiday (unscheduled closing possible)
Directions: (Train) 48 minutes by Kyoto Bus bound for Kiyotaki from Karasumaru-chuo Gate at JR Kyoto Station (15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station) to Toriimoto bus stop, and then 4 minutes by foot to the destination. (Car) 30 minutes from Kyoto Minami Interchange on the Meishin Expressway.