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Kaikoji Temple

Yamagata Prefecture

Witness the one of the 16 Buddha Mummies in existience.

Japan is home to Sokushinbutsu, known as Living Buddha or Buddha Mummies, who are monks that mummified themselves as a sacrifice to pray for the people who were suffering from famine and other hardships. There are 16 known Buddha Mummies in Japan, and half of them were found in Yamagata Prefecture. The practice was outlawed in the early 20th century, the latest such example of self-mummification being Bukkai-Shonin, who did so in 1903.

Kaikoji in Sakata City is the only temple in Japan that hosts two such Buddha Mummies; Chukai-Shonin, a Samurai originally from Tsuruoka who aged 50 became a monk and eventually head priest of Kaikoji before undergoing ascetic training and entombing himself to become a Buddha Mummy in 1755, and Enmyokai-Shonin, a monk from nearby Shonai Town who mummified himself in 1822. The gear that was used by the two for ascetic training in the Dewa Sanzan, as well as in preparation for mummification, is also on display along with other Yamabushi artifacts sure to pique your interest.

Please note that pictures of these mummies is not allowed, we ask all visitors to be respectful of this rule as these mummies are very fragile and treasures to Japan and the local people of Yamagata.

The part of temple with the mummy inside

Quick Info


General Admission Fee: 400 yen

This fee includes a short English presentation by one of the members of Kaikoji Temple.  

Opening Hours

Open from 9:00am to 5:00pm 
November to March (Open until 4:00pm)
Closed on Tuesdays and from January 1st to the 3rd. 

Average Duration

1 hour


〒998-0037 山形県酒田市日吉町2丁目7−12

Other tips

Kaikoji Temple is located on the top of a small hill next the Hiyoriyama Park and other downtown attractions like Somaro and the Sanno Club.