There are lots of ways to visit places in Japan, and I’ve tried most of them at one time or another. From having a strict schedule and sticking to it to getting blissfully lost and happening upon secret gardens. And then there’s Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, where I tried to go every time I visited Kyoto for the past four years and never managed to find it. Every time I tried, I got one of the following results: 1. The bus you take according to a website does not actually go there. 2. The bus you take according to a website does not actually exist. 3. What is this thing you call, “bus”?
Finally, having my mother there with me, I decided not to accept failure and hailed a taxi, figuring the driver could get me there.
And he did. Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto, and has over a thousand statues of disciples of Buddha called rakan – every single one unique and full of personality.