Kotsukappara graves

Kotsukappara graves

If you’re ever in the area of Minami-Senju station, you might want to stop by this spooky little graveyard and site of a notorious execution ground. It’s nestled between the train tracks just a minute or two from the station, and even today maintains an eerie atmosphere.
There were between 100,000 and 200,000 people executed here and it was once the size of a football field. Most of the bodies were just covered in sand instead of being properly buried, so that birds and animals would be able to pick at their remains. The Buddha statue in the photo is called the “Kubikiri Jizo” or “Neck chop Jizo.”

How to get there: Take the JR Joban Line to Minami-Senju station and go out of the South Exit. Cross the street and walk along the tracks a few more meters until you see Enmei-ji, the temple that was built for the souls of the executed. There’s also a temple called Ekoin, that was founded in 1667 that is dedicated to the people who were killed here.

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in February 2008 and has been updated.