Baron, International Affairs Division
Construction time: 10 years.
Recognized as: the tallest Buddha in the entire world (in
the Guinness Book from 1995)
Ushiku, this Daibutsu（大仏）stands
magnificently with its 120 meters height."
You said 120 meters? Come on, you must be kidding. This
would be 3 times as big as the Statue of Liberty. And yet,
it does look incredibly big. But somehow it looks like
another Buddha I think I saw somewhere else. Yes, it has a
great resemblance with its much smaller model in Asakusa（浅草）,
at the Nishi-Honganji（西本願寺）.
could they achieve this gigantic Daibutsu in just 10 years?
In Europe they needed decades and almost a century
sometimes to build a church. Modern techniques are indeed
incredible. They made a steal frame, then affixed 6,000
bronze squares, 6 millimeters thick (you read well!
MILLIMETERS) and 4×4 meters wide. This is no hand-made job
as you can imagine, cranes were used to lift the heavy
squares (more than 150 kilos each) and assemble them
together. The "final product" is Japanese but for the
anecdote, the squares were made in Taiwan.
this is quite a job that was done there. Look at the palm
of the left hand of this Buddha! It is 18 meters long!
That's right, the Buddha in Kamakura could sit in it. I am
worried about one thing though . . . this Buddha is
enormous, weighs 4,000 tons. What happens if an earthquake
occurs? Well, this is Japan, and the guys who made it were
very thoughtful. It is not supposed to fall. However, the
steal frame could be twisted. . . .
are the other particularities of this Daibutsu apart from
this is a standing Daibutsu. You will notice in your
travels through Japan that most of them are in a seated
position. Not this one.
the right foot is slightly moving forward, which means
Buddha is actively going to help people. Moreover, his feet
actually do not touch the ground. The Buddha walks on a bed
of lotus flowers which separate it from our impure world,
and world of the living.
The left hand
the position of its hands have an important meaning. The
left hand's palm, totally visible, refers to the helpful
mind of Buddha（念仏衆生接種不捨
or Nenbutsu-Shujou- Sesshu-Fusha）,
as if it was saying: "I will help you. I will show you the
path to Heaven". So, for those who misunderstood this and
thought it was asking for money, you were WRONG. The hand
is not asking for anything, the hand is giving help. I wish
it would give money though . . . there is a car I would
like to buy. . . .
The right hand
aside, the right hand is also very interesting and people
familiar with the movie The Lord Of The Ring will surely
find a stunning similitude. This hand forms a circle with
the thumb and the index. This refers to the omnipresence of
Buddha. Buddha is everywhere because it can see in every
single direction, just like the eye in the above-mentioned
film. Don't forget the name of the right hand, it is
Koushou-Henshou- Jippou-Sekai. Not easy? Sorry, I thought
it was. Here is the Kanji anyway for people interested in
know that you can enter inside the Buddha? I am not lying.
The Buddha contains many rooms worth seeing. The first one
you can go into is totally dark. Obscurity in there lasts
50 seconds. A voice tells us in Japanese that Buddha gives
his light through his wisdom to those who are lost, in the
dark side. Buddha leads and gives life. In other words,
this room symbolizes to the dark world (無明の世界
or Mumyou No Sekai).
this introduction, you will have full access to the 5
floors inside the Daibutsu. The World of Infinite Light and
（光りの世界 or Hikari No
the World of Gratitude and Thankfulness（知恩報徳の世界
or Chion-Houtoku No Sekai）,
the World of the Lotus Sanctuary（蓮華蔵世界
the Room of Mt. Grdhrakuta（霊鷲山の間
or Ryouju-Sen No Ma）A
full description of these floors could take ages. We chose
to mention the World of Lotus Sanctuary. In a circular
shape, this floor is filled with 3,300 images of Buddha. It
is possible to meet the priest and pray there. In fact,
many families have their own statuette of Buddha there.
Smaller ones can cost 300,000 yen while the bigger ones
reach 1 million yen. The room is all golden. However, the
only place with real gold is where the priest sits. This
floor represents the Pure Land.
the Daibutsu is not all about Buddha. You have all around
beautiful gardens and flowers and a pond where the fish are
very popular among children. The zoo and the monkey stage
close to the Daibutsu provide entertainment to kids not
really involved in spirituality and Japanese culture. The
Daibutsu welcomes about 190,000 visitors a year and is not
very famous yet but its potentiality to attract visitors
exists for sure. It is a nice place to go, surrounded by
greenery, easy to access by shuttle bus from the Southern
side of Ushiku station. Access will become easier by car
from December. The new highway will be stopping by really
close with the appearance of a new interchange.
break and go to the Daibutsu, the only one of its kind. If
the weather is fine, this is surely a good opportunity to
visit it for really cheap! We recommend it!
fee from April to November: 500 yen/adult and 300
yen/children for anything but the inside visit of the
Daibutsu. If you want to get inside too: 800 yen/adult and
fee from December to March: 400 yen/adult and 200
yen/children (no inside visit) or 700 yen/adult and 400
yen/children (inside visit included)
entrance on New Year and August 15th (from 5 p.m.)
Thank-you so much to Tananashi-san, who kindly showed us
around the Daibutsu