The Greatest Buddha

A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?

(Extract from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, 1892)

Carrying on from the last post about my Tokyo area trip, I’m sure you’ll remember that on April 19th I was walking to The Great Buddha of Kamakura

Daibutsu this way!

The Great Buddha is located at a temple called Kotoku-in, but people rarely mention that. From the direction I was approaching, I knew I was almost there when I spotted some touristy shops:

Souvenir shop

There are signs, but the temple entrance is very subtle and not quite the huge tourist attraction I was expecting:

Kotoku-in (temple)

But I knew I was in the right place when I saw this sign:

Kotoku-in (temple)

Amazingly (given its size), I didn’t see The Great Buddha as soon as entered the temple. But then… there he was:

Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

I actually couldn’t stop myself taking photos of The Great Buddha (you know how much I like big Buddhas, right?). I won’t bore you with them all, but here’s a selection:

Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

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Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

See this little hut next to The Great Buddha? If you go there, you can pay 20 Yen to enter the Buddha! It’s a little strange inside:

Inside the Great Buddha

With earthquakes constantly in mind during this trip, I found this sign quite interesting:

Information

How amazing is it that The Great Buddha can move during an earthquake? I heard that he did indeed move during the March quake.

Naturally, there are a couple of gift shops at the temple where you can buy all the Buddha-y cookies and cakes you could ever need:

Buddha goods

When I finally dragged myself away from The Great Buddha, I realised I was getting hungry. I decided to stop for a bite of sacrilegious fun at this little shop:

Buddha anko kasutera

…where I bought this funny little Buddha kasutera:

Biting the Buddha

He was very yummy – a sort of soft cake with red beans (anko) inside.

I honestly could have spent all day just sitting with the daibutsu (Great Buddha). I don’t know what it is about them, but they just spread this feeling of calm through me. But, I wanted to make the most of the day, so on I headed… this time bound for Hase-dera, which is another famous temple in Kamakura. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until next time for that though… 😉

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This post is an entry for this week’s Show Me Japan. Don’t forget to check out all the others! 🙂

9 thoughts on “The Greatest Buddha

  1. I’ve been there several times, especially since I lived in Kamakura for 4 years. I’ve only been inside Daibutsu once, though. It was quite interesting seeing the inside and learning about the construction techniques. I’m also looking forward to your Hasedera post. It’s probably my favourite viewpoint in Kamakura. Great view of the city!

    Like

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