Kaikoji Temple

Sakata City

Japan is also 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 artefacts sure to pique your interest.

Quick Info:


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. 

Here is the address for google maps.

〒998-0037 山形県酒田市日吉町2丁目7−12

Open from 9:00am to 5:00pm 

November to March (Open until 4:00pm)

Closed on Tuesdays and from January 1st to the 3rd. 


Admission Fee: 400 yen

The part of temple with the mummy inside

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