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鎌倉大仏殿高徳院 The Great Buddha and Kotoku-in

  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
  • Around Kamakura
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  • ClosedOpen Every Day

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District
Around Kamakura
Address
4-2-28 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan
Category
  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
Opening Hours
8:00-16:30, [April-September] 8:00-17:30, [October-March] 8:00-17:00
Closed
Open Every Day
Website
http://www.kotoku-in.jp/en/top.html
Tel.
+81-467-22-0703
Date of post:2015/06/16

Great Buddha, the symbol of Kamakura

  • Temple / Shrine
  • Special Recommendations

Great Buddha in Kamakura is the second biggest sitting bronze Buddha statue in Japan. The biggest one is in Nara, but the uniqueness of this one is that you see it in the open air. So you can take a good photo of the statue under the sunshine. Among many temples and shrines, this is the symbolic place of Kamakura.

It was constructed in about 13th century. The height is 13.35m including the base and the weight is 121 tons. The statue used to be covered by the pavilion which was destroyed by the tsunami (great wave) in 15th century. You will see the foundation of the pavilion made of stone even today. When it was made, the statue was applied with gold leaf. It must have been much different at the beginning. You still find a little remaining on his right cheek.

The inside of the statue is empty. If you pay ¥20 (JPY), you can enter inside the statue.

On the side, you will find huge straw sandals dedicated for Buddha!

The real name of the temple is Kotokuin.

You can walk to the temple from Hase Station of Enoden Line. You can find many fancy souvenir shops and restaurants on the way.

Also another nice temple with big statue of Kannon (disciple of Buddha), Hase-dera is nearby.

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Date of post:2015/06/12

You might’ve seen the picture already, but now put yourself in it!

  • Temple / Shrine

When you hear the word “Kamakura”, the images which come to your mind will be “Daibutsu, the great Buddha”, or the famous woodblock print of ‘The Giant Wave of Kamakura’, but for Japanese, Daibutsu comes first and more vividly. The Daibutsu is very popular and it has many tourists regardless of the season. It’s said to be built in 1243. The statue first had a hall which covered it, but what with earthquakes and strong storms, it was broken down many times, later it ended up being washed away by a tsunami; then it was never rebuilt, and it’s been sitting out in the open since then. However, you can see the remains – the stone benches where tourists are sitting on, around the Daibutsu, is said to be the bases of the columns of the hall.

Let me tell you some characteristics of the statue. The statue including the pedestal is about 13 meters high, and weighs about 120 tons. The type of the Buddhist statue is “Amida-nyorai” which is the highest rank of the incarnation form of Buddha, which already enlightened to give mercy and save people. The hand signs of Buddhist statue always have meaning, and the Daibutsu here has the most prestigious sign of meditation. It’s been said that there are 32 traits of Buddha, which differ from humans, one of which is the curly hair. The Daibutsu here has 656 curls in all. Also it has a spiral dot between the eyes on its forehead, it’s also a curly hair and it’s said to emit the light to people. The other trait is a kind of web between its fingers. They are for scooping and saving as many people as possible without missing anyone. On both cheeks, you might be able to find gold colouring, since it was once covered with gold, but most of it came off as time went.

Let’s go around the statue after looking at the front. You can go into the statue from the side. You can get some hints on how it casted, as it has some lattice patterns on the wall of the statue, which is the clue that it was casted separately and it was obviously high technology for the age. At the back of the statue, you will see two windows. Some people might think they are for air ventilation, but it was for scraping the clay out from inside of the statue in the process of casting.

By the way, there is another popular Daibutsu in Japan. Have you heard of the Daibutsu in Nara? It’s located in Nara prefecture, in the western part of Japan. It is seated in a hall of the Toudaiji Temple, and the size is a bit bigger than the one in Kamakura. Also the hand sign is different. If you have chance to go to Nara, it would be nice to compare the two and find some differences.

Opening hours: 8:00-17:30 (April to September)
8:00-17:00 (October to March)
Price: Adult ¥200 (JPY) / Child (primary school) ¥150 (JPY)
To enter the interior of the Great Buddha statue: 8:00-16:30 (Price: ¥20 (JPY))

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  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
Other Sightseeing Spots of Yokohama, Hakone, Kamakura (Kanagawa)

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