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Reclining Buddha statues of Nanzoin.jpg
Basic information
Location 1035, Sasaguri, Sasaguri-machi, Kasuya-gun, Fukuoka
Affiliation Shingon
Country Japan
Website (Japanese only)
Architectural description
Founder Hayashi Satoshiun
Completed 1899

Nanzo-in (南蔵院?) is a Shingon sect Buddhist temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is notable for its bronze statue of a reclining Buddha, said to be the largest bronze statue in the world.


Gate to Nanzoin Temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka, Japan.

Nanzo-in temple was originally located on Mt. Koyasan, but local anti-Buddhist authorities threatened to destroy the temple in 1886[1]. Public outcry lead to a decade-long effort to have the temple transferred to Sasaguri.[2] It was moved in 1899, under the leadership of Sasaguri priest, Hayashi Satoshiun.[3] Nanzo-in temple is the main location among the 88 temples that make up the Sasaguri pilgrimage route, one of the three famous walking pilgrimages in Japan.[4]

Today, the temple and its surrounding grounds receive more than 1 million visitors annually.[4]


A chief priest of Nanzo-in temple once won the lottery after laying his ticket next to a statue of Daikoku[5]. The temple claims that others who have made a similar effort have also won the lottery, bringing the temple associations with luck and lottery tickets.[6]

Reclining Buddha[edit]

The reclining Buddha statue at Nanzoin Temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka, Japan.

The reclining Buddha statue, known as either Nehanzo or Shaka Nehan ("Nirvana")[7] is 41 meters long, 11 meters high, and weighs nearly 300 tons.[8] The statue depicts Buddha at the moment of death, or entrance into nirvana.[6]

The interior holds ashes of Buddha and two Buddhist adherents, Ananda and Maudgalyayana. Those relics were a gift from Myanmar as thanks for the sect's donations of medical supplies to children in both Nepal and Myanmar.[3] In 1995, 1,300 monks from Myanmar and Nepal attended the unveiling of the reclining Buddha statue.[3]

Inside the sculpture, sand from each of the 88 shrines that make up the Shikoku pilgrimage are stored below bricks within a narrow hallway.[9]

Every year, hundreds of Buddhists come together to clean the statue using bamboo leaves tied to five-meter poles.[7]


Nanzo-in Temple has 4,315 nokotsudo, places where bones of the deceased are stored.[10] The temple has a non-traditional fee structure for housing remains. First, it is open to all sects of Buddhism, and is even open to Shinto remains. Secondly, many Buddhist temples rely on a monthly fee for housing the bones of the deceased, which are then disposed of after a set period of time. Nanzo-in Temple has one fee, which covers 200 years.[10]


  1. ^ "Nanzo-in Temple". 
  2. ^ ACROS, Fukuoka (2011). Fukuoka Guide Spring 2011. ACROS Fukuoka. 
  3. ^ a b c Kanko, Sasaguri. "Sasaguri Tourism: Nanzoin Temple (Japanese)". Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Fukuoka, Crossroads. "Nanzoin Temple". Crossroads. 
  5. ^ "Nanzo-in Temple: The Reclining Buddha Temple". 
  6. ^ a b "The Beautiful Nanzoin Temple Fukuoka". 
  7. ^ a b "Karmic Cleansing". Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  8. ^ Sasaguri-shi. Sasaguri Sight-Seeing Spots (PDF). Sasaguri Town. 
  9. ^ Nakamura, Connie. "Sasaguri Town - Mini Pilgrimage And More!". Taiken. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Bryant, Clifton (2003). Handbook of Death and Dying. SAGE. p. 668. 

Coordinates: 33°37′11″N 130°34′23″E / 33.619839°N 130.572935°E / 33.619839; 130.572935