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The Great Buddha of Kamakura

  • One of the most iconic figures in Kamakura, the Daibutsu goes by a number of names. There’s ‘The Great Buddha of Kamakura’, ‘Amida Buddha’, and of course ‘Kamakura Daibutsu’. Sitting on the grounds of Kotoku-in, the towering statue reaches an impressive height of 11.4 meters, and is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan after Nara's Todaiji Temple. Though he technical sits on the temple’s ground, visitors to the area will attest that Kamakura Daibutsu is the attention commanding star of Kamakura.

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The statue was originally cast in 1252, and following the unveiling originally lived inside a large temple hall. Following a series of violent typhoons and a tidal wave in the 14th and 15th centuries the surrounding temples were destroyed leaving the statue essentially homeless. Since then, around 1495, the Buddha has been sitting out in the open. Though the original maker of the Great Buddha is unknown, experts have been able to piece together a little background on the imposing figure. Stylistically the creator was influenced by the Buddhist sculpture of the Kei School, and the Song Dynasty (960–1279) of China. The Great Buddha’s image is considered a rather typical example of Kamakura period style (1192–1333). It’s also assumed that the bronze image was probably cast by Ōno Gorōemon or Tanji Hisatomo both of whom were famous and well respected bronze casters of their time.

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The Buddhist temple grounds that the Great Buddha sits within is known as Kōtoku-in from the Jodo Sect. This sect is a is a branch of Pure Land style Buddhism that derives its meaning from the teachings of the Japanese ex-Tendai monk Honen. Originally established in 1175 it’s the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan, alongside Jodo Shinshu.

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    Over the centuries the Buddha has weathered a number of natural disasters, the most damaging being The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. During this time the base the statue was destroyed but then repaired in 1925. Later on repairs to the statue were carried out in the early 1960s when measures were taken to strengthen the neck of the structure and prevent damage from future earthquakes. Only recently, in early 2016, further restoration was performed on the statue to ensure he’ll stand tall for many years to come.

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The Great Buddha is located just a 5-10 minute walk from Hase Station, so the best way to get there directly is by foot. If you have weary legs a taxi could be a possibility, but you’ll be missing the opportunity to explore all the great shopping opportunities that line the streets along the way. Hase Station is the third strop from Kamakura if you’re travelling along Enoden railway line. More like a beachside streetcar than a train, the Enoden connects Kamakura to the neighboring Enoshima and Fujisawa. To get on the Enoden line from Kamakura you can find its terminal positioned next to JR Kamakura Station.

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    The Great Buddha of Kamakura

    Kotoku-in Temple (Kamakura Daibutsu)
    Address
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Hase 4-2-28
    Phone
    0467220703
    Hase(Kanagawa)
    Address
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Hase 2-chome
    Phone
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