I see. This seems to be the temple where the Jizo Bodhisattva is enshrined as the principal deity. The Yata Temple, whose principal deity is the Jizo Bodhisattva who is said to have conveyed the appearance of hell, is located here.

Exterior view of Yata Temple.

It stands a short distance up Teramachi Sanjo, a street lined with shops, and is known to locals as Yata Jizo. Although it is located in a busy downtown area, once you step into its precincts, the unique atmosphere of the temple envelops us all.

Lanterns at Yata Temple.

As you can see in the photo above, many lanterns surround the main hall, and their light casts a silent lamp in our hearts.

Jizo statues at Yata Temple.

Despite being in the middle of a busy shopping street, the atmosphere instantly changes from one of ‘motion’ to one of ‘stillness’ as you enter the precincts of Yata Temple, leading us into a magical space.

Happiness Dainichi Nyorai.

This is Binzuruzonja-san
It is also known as “Bentsuru”.


He is the first of the sixteen arhats and is said to have the power to cure all illnesses. If you stroke the bad part of your body and pray to him, you will receive a miraculous miracle. So, I patted its feet and prayed.

palms together

Wishing I had a long and healthy walk.


Now, this is the main hall of Yata Temple.

The main hall of Yata Temple.

A standing statue of Yata Jizo, which stands 2m high, is enshrined in the main hall here.

The main deity, Yata Jizo.

It may be difficult to see in the photo, but what a surprise, this Jizo is enshrined behind a working fire. There is a spectacular Jizo Bodhisattva standing there in the fires of hellish suffering.

The monk who had these magnificent Jizo figures carved was the founder of the temple, a priest named Mankei Shonin. The Yata Jizo Engi-Emaki (Yata Jizo Engi Picture Scroll) in the temple’s collection contains the following story. Ono Takamura, who travelled between this world and hell and assisted Enma the Great. It was Mankei Shonin who was invited to hell by that Takamura. When a Shonin is invited to hell, he first prays for the suffering Enma the Great and removes his suffering. And in return for escaping suffering, Enma the Great allows Shonin to visit hell.

And Mankei Shonin saw there.

Jizo Bodhisattva rescuing the departed in hell

The appearance of Jizo Bodhisattva saving sinners while bathed in the fires of hell.

It is said that the Shonin was greatly impressed by looking at this.

When he returned to this world, he had a Jizo carved in the shape of a Bodhisattva. This is the Yata Jizo. This Jizo is commonly known as the Daikyoku Jizo, and is still worshipped by people as the Jizo who saves the departed in hell.

Incidentally, the temple bell at Yata Temple is called the ‘sending bell’, as opposed to the ‘welcoming bell’ at Rikudo-Jinno-ji Temple. The bell is believed to be rung to send the spirits of the dead to the underworld without hesitation, and is visited by many worshippers throughout the year on Shorai-okuri.

The reference material

Kyoto Makai Chizu-cho: Maps and Photographs of Kyoto Backstory Romantic Journey, Yata Temple (Bessatu Takarajima 2356, 2015)

Yata Temple

  • The address:
    〒604-8081 Kyoto City Nakagyo Ward Teramachi Street Sanjo Noboru 523
  • TEL: 075-241-3608
  • URL:
  • Fee: free
  • The origin: Built as a branch temple of Kongozan-ji Temple Yatayama in 796 (Enryaku 15).
  • The benefits: prayers for the prosperity of offspring, safe delivery, etc.
  • The founder: Mankei Shonin
  • Viewing hours: 8:00-19:30
  • The transportation access:
    3-minute walk after getting off at Subway “Kyoto City Hall mae” Station
    3-minute walk after getting off at Kyoto City Bus System 10, 15 “Kawaramachi Sanjo”





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