Stand inside Buddha and contemplate life and the universe
The bronzed Great Buddha of Kamakura, also known as Kamakura Daibutsu, is a magnificent statue that dates back to the 13th century. Standing at an impressive height of 11.3 meters and weighing 121 tons, it is the second tallest bronze Buddha in japan. This iconic statue is not only a popular tourist attraction but also a symbol of spiritual enlightenment and a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of Kamakura.
The Kamakura Daibutsu is located in the grounds of Kotokuin, a temple belonging to the Jodo Sect of Buddhism. This sect is dedicated to the liberation of all beings, and the Great Buddha is a representation of their belief in guiding all souls to the Pure Land. Whether you are a saint or a sinner, rich or poor, young or old, the Great Buddha welcomes everyone with open arms. It is a testament to the inclusive nature of Buddhism, where all individuals are invited to seek enlightenment and find solace in the teachings of Buddha.
To reach the Kamakura Daibutsu, it is recommended to take a day trip from Tokyo. From Shinjuku Station, you can take the Shonan Shinjuku line to Kamakura Station. Then, transfer to the Enoshima Electric Railway and take a train towards Fujisawa. Get off at Hase Station, and from there, it is just a short 7-minute walk to the Great Buddha. The route is well signposted, making it easy for visitors to find their way.
As you approach the statue, you can’t help but be in awe of its grandeur. The Great Buddha stands tall and proud, exuding a sense of tranquility and serenity. It is a sight that leaves a lasting impression on all who behold it. The statue is made of bronze and depicts Amida Buddha, a celestial buddha associated with the Pure Land sect of Buddhism. Its craftsmanship and attention to detail are remarkable, showcasing the skill and artistry of the craftsmen who created it centuries ago.
One of the unique features of the Kamakura Daibutsu is the pair of 1.8 meter-long warazori straw sandals that hang to the right of the Buddha. These sandals were originally woven by children in 1951, with the hope that the Buddha would use them to walk the length and breadth of Japan. Every three years, children from the same club renew the sandals, keeping the tradition alive. Standing inside the Great Buddha and observing these sandals is a humbling experience, as it allows you to connect with the history and spirituality of the statue.
Adjacent to the Great Buddha is Kangetsudo Hall, which has an interesting origin story. It was originally part of the imperial palace in 15th-century Seoul before being moved first to Tokyo and then to Kamakura. The hall houses an Edo period image of Kannon Bosatsu, the Goddess of Mercy. This image is a beautiful representation of compassion and serves as a reminder of the importance of kindness and empathy in our lives.
Exploring inside the Kamakura Daibutsu is also a must-do experience. For a small donation, visitors can enter the statue and witness its magnificence up close. Stepping inside the hollow interior of the Buddha’s body is a surreal experience, as you are enveloped by a sense of peace and tranquility. It is a moment of introspection and contemplation, where you can reflect on life, the universe, and your own spiritual journey.
The history of the Kamakura Daibutsu is as fascinating as the statue itself. Initially, the statue was housed inside a temple building after its casting in the 13th century. However, over the years, the temple was repeatedly destroyed by natural disasters such as typhoons, tsunami, and earthquakes. In 1498, the caretakers of the statue made the decision to leave it exposed to the elements, and since then, it has stood as a testament to the resilience and endurance of Kamakura.
Visiting the Kamakura Daibutsu is not only a spiritual experience but also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Kamakura. The city itself is steeped in tradition and boasts numerous other attractions that are worth exploring. For example, Hasedera Temple is a nearby temple known for its beautiful gardens and stunning views of the surrounding area. Yuigahama Beach is also a popular destination, offering a picturesque coastline and a chance to relax and unwind.
When planning your visit to the Kamakura Daibutsu, it is important to consider the time of year and any special events or festivals taking place. During the azalea blooming season and national holiday periods, the area can get quite crowded, so it is advisable to allocate more time for your visit. A visit to the Kamakura Daibutsu and Kotokuin Temple can easily be combined with other attractions in the area, creating a memorable day trip from Tokyo.
In conclusion, the Kamakura Daibutsu is a remarkable testament to the beauty and spirituality of Buddhism. Standing inside the hollow interior of the Great Buddha and contemplating life and the universe is a profound experience that leaves a lasting impression. The statue’s rich history, intricate craftsmanship, and inclusive message make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese culture and spirituality. Whether you are seeking solace, enlightenment, or simply a deeper connection with the world around you, the Kamakura Daibutsu offers a sanctuary for introspection and contemplation.
Address And Maps Location:
4-2-28 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken