The History of the 16 Buddhas

The 16 Buddhas are carved into the cliffs which run for several hundred meters against the rough waves of the Sea of japan. They were sculpted by Ishikawa Kankai, the 21st priest of the Zen Buddhist Kaizen-ji Temple, between the years of 1864 and 1868. We give thanks for his hard work and devotion in skillfully carving this divine monument of 22 statues into the cliff face.

Having had the idea to carve the statues, the Priest went to Sakata seeking donations to fund the work. When enough money had been raised, he supervised local masons in carving one statue, and continued in this way until the project was complete.

The statues are all busts and are arranged around the figures of Shaka, Monju and Fugen. They were carved to fit in with the shape of the rocks and even complement of the natural beauty of the area. The 16 Buddhas monument reaffirms the faith of all those who come here and is a testimony to the benevolence of the priest who created it.

March 1975

Kaizen-ji Temple 

Fukura, Yuza Town.


現曹洞宗海禅寺 二十一代目の石川寛海大和尚が、日本海の荒波の打ち寄せる奇岩の連る数百メートルに点綴して刻んだ、十六羅漢がある。奇岩怪岩に富んだこの岩石を利用して巧みに仏像二十二体を彫刻した和尚の努力と精進の程に敬虔の念を捧げます。又和尚は作仏発願以来喜捨金を酒田に托鉢し、一両を求めると一仏を刻し、元治元年より明治初年までの間石工とともに彫刻したのが羅漢像である。


2015.2.9  Mikio Soramame