Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the Jizo Statues

Located in the scenic heart of Nikko sits Kanmangafuchi Abyss, a site filled with as much sacred and spiritual importance as it has beauty. Like Lake Chuzenji, this stunning gorge was formed by an eruption of neighboring Mount Nantai. Stretching just a few hundred meters long through central Nikko, it's a pleasant riverside walking trail and a great way to explore the area’s untouched natural beauty. What makes this particular site of significant importance to the area is the fact this it’s home to a large collection of stone statues called Jizo, a spiritual icon who cares for the lost and deceased.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the Jizo Statues
Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the Jizo Statues

Staring out over the river and across to the Nikko Botanical Garden, Kanamangafuchi’s collection of Jizo statues are one of the most iconic figures in Nikko’s spiritual world and they hold significant importance to not only the locals in the area but visitors making the pilgrimage to Nikko to find meaning and protection.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the Jizo Statues

Historically Jizo were and continue to be one of Japan’s most beloved deities. Regarded as the Bodhisattva who cares for travelers and lost souls, and also the guardian of children. A Bodhisattva is a figure in Buddhism who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so through the compassion they feel for suffering beings.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the Jizo Statues

Many people have tried counting the exact number of Jizo statues that sit along this stretch of road in Nikko, but according to legend getting the exact number is near impossible. Incredibly illusive, rumor has it that each time you count the figures you’re faced with a different number because they routinely disappear. However as a rough guess there are around 70 along the wall overlooking the Daiyagawa River.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the Jizo Statues

The figures of Jizo are of great comfort to many suffering the loss of a child. It is said that Jizo helps to sneak children into the afterlife in the sleeves of his robe, assisting those babies that did not have the chance to build up good karma on earth prior to their passing. This is why you’ll see the statues are often dressed in crochet clothing made by those grieving the loss of a loved one, as parents hope that in caring for the figures of Jizo, he will do the same for their unborn children.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the Jizo Statues

To make your way to Kanmangafuchi Abyss, from the JR or Tobu Nikko Station, you can ride the local Tobu bus bound for either Chuzenji Onsen or Yumoto Onsen. Once you get to Tamozawa bus stop, hop off and make the rest of the journey by foot. From the station to the site, the journey takes only around 10 minutes by the bus and costs 310 yen each way. Once you get off the bus walk for about 10-15 minutes through a residential area and you’ll see the start of the trail. If you’re coming from Toshogu Shrine, you can also make the journey directly on foot, which takes 30 minutes.

Facility Name
Kanmangafuchi Abyss
Address
Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Takumichou 8-28
Introduction
This is a beauty spot which was formed by the lava from Mt. Nantai. A stone statue of Acala is enshrined here which was installed by the high priest Koukai on a large rock on the riverbank. It is said that the name, “Kanman” comes from the last verse of Acala’s mantra. There are a group of about 70 Jizo statues on a cliff upstream on the south bank of the river and since it is said that the number of statues differ each time they are counted, they are called “Ghost Jizo”. The word “kanman” is inscribed in Sanskrit characters on the cliff in the upper stream and is said to have been done by Kobo Daishi.
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Nikko Botanical Garden
Address
Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Hanaishichou 1842
Phone
0288540206
Business hours
9:00 to 16:30 (admission is -16)
Regular holiday
Monday (the following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 1 - April 14
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Chuzentera Onsen
Address
Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Chugushi
Phone
0288221525
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN

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PLACES IN THIS ARTICLE

  • dummy image

    Nikko Botanical Garden

    Botanical garden
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Hanaishichou 1842
  • dummy image

    Chuzentera Onsen

    Onsen (Japanese hot springs&baths)
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Chugushi
  • dummy image

    Nikkoyumoto Hot Spring

    Onsen (Japanese hot springs&baths)
    Tochigi Nikko-shiYumoto
  • Kanmangafuchi Abyss image

    Kanmangafuchi Abyss

    Valley
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Takumichou 8-28
  • Lake Chuzenji image

    Lake Chuzenji

    Lake
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Chugushi
  • dummy image

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Shrine (Inari/Gongen)
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Sannai 2301
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