Peek into hell at the home of a giant granite Buddha
Mt. Nokigiri, located in Chiba, japan, is one of the three most famous mountains in the region, along with Mt. Kanozan and Mt. Kiyosumi. Standing at a height of 329 meters, Mt. Nokigiri offers breathtaking views and is home to a temple complex that houses one of Japan’s largest Buddhas. This majestic mountain is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a peek into hell and a chance to pay homage to a giant granite Buddha.
One of the highlights of visiting Mt. Nokigiri is riding the scenic ropeway to the top. This aerial tramway provides visitors with a picturesque view of the surrounding area as they make their way up the mountain. The ropeway is located in the town of Kanaya on the north side of the mountain, and it offers stunning views of Tokyo Bay and even Mt. Fuji on clear days.
Once you reach the top of Mt. Nokigiri, you will be greeted by the Jigoku Nozoki observation deck. This lookout point offers a spectacular view of Tokyo Bay and the Boso Peninsula. From here, you can see vast areas of the peninsula and even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji in the distance. The observation deck is a popular spot for visitors to take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape and snap some stunning photos.
The main attraction at Mt. Nokigiri is the giant granite Buddha that is carved into the side of the mountain. Standing at an impressive 31 meters high, this Buddha is one of Japan’s largest and is even larger than the famous daibutsu at Kotokuin Temple in Kamakura. The statue was built in 1783 with the intention of praying for world peace. It is truly a sight to behold and offers a sense of tranquility and serenity to all who visit.
In addition to the giant Buddha, there are also around 500 small statues of various deities located around the temple grounds. These statues were crafted by Kangoro Ono and his students over a period of 21 years in the 18th century. Although some have been lost to time, the remaining statues provide a glimpse into the rich spiritual history of the area.
Another notable feature of Mt. Nokigiri is its saw-toothed mountain shape, which gives it its name. The jagged cliffs and unique rock formations distinguish it from other mountains in the region. The mountain is made of bare granite and has been used as a quarry since the Edo Period. It has provided stones for many iconic sites in Tokyo, such as Yasukuni Shrine and Waseda University.
At the southern base of Mt. Nokigiri lies Nihonji Temple, an Important Cultural Property. This picturesque Zen temple has a history that dates back 1300 years and is still used to train young monks today. Visitors can descend from the top of the mountain to the temple via a stairway and explore its beautiful grounds.
To get to Mt. Nokigiri, you can take the JR Uchibo Line to Hana-Kanaya Station, which is near the mountain. The journey from Tokyo Station takes approximately an hour and a half on the Sazanami special express train. There are also buses available at Tokyo and Shinjuku Station that can take you to Kisarazu, where you can transfer to the local Uchibo Line. If you prefer to drive, you can take the Aqua Line, a four-lane highway, to Kisarazu and head south from there.
Regardless of how you choose to get there, a visit to Mt. Nokigiri is a must for anyone interested in Japanese culture and history. From the scenic ropeway ride to the breathtaking views from the Jigoku Nozoki observation deck, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Paying homage to the giant granite Buddha and exploring the temple grounds at Nihonji Temple offer a glimpse into the spiritual side of Japan. So why not take a trip to Mt. Nokigiri and discover the beauty and tranquility that awaits?
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