Jūroku Rakan Iwa – Yuza, Japan - Atlas Obscura

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Jūroku Rakan Iwa

Yuza, Japan

Buddha figures are carved into volcanic rocks on the seashore of Yamagara Prefecture. 


This curious place is about an hour away from Akita City. The carvings you see in the rocks were created by Ishikawa Kankai, a priest of the Zen Buddhist Kaizenji temple between 1864-1868. The name of the place, Jūroku Rakan Iwa, means “16 Rakan Rocks,” but there are actually 22 stone figures at the site. There are the 16 Arhats, as well as representations of Shakyamuni, Manjusri, Fugen and his consort, Avalokitesvara, and the Sarira, or Buddhist relics.

These monuments were made to honor the memory of fishermen lost at sea. These silent guardians look after the dozens of fishing boats that set sail into the ocean every day.

You can enjoy these artworks in the middle of nature just a few minutes away from the Fukura station.  There is an annual ceremony in late July, when the sculptures are illuminated at night             

In partnership with KAYAK

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