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Great Buddha, Kamakura

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Photo Greg Moore. Photo © Greg Moore.
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Photo © Brad Douglas.
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The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Daibutsu in Japanese) is a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha in the city of Kamakura, Japan. Seated serenely in the grounds of Kotokuin, a Buddhist temple of the Pure Land sect, the Great Buddha is one of the icons of Japan.

At 13.35 meters high and weighing 93 tons, the Daibutsu is the second largest monumental Buddha in Japan (after the one at Todaiji in Nara) and to many, the most impressive.

The Diabutsu was cast in 1252 in the Kamakura period and was originally housed inside a temple, as in Nara. But a huge tsunami washed away the wooden structure sometime in the late 15th century, and the statue has sat out in nature ever since.

The Great Buddha is seated in the lotus position with his hands forming the Dhyani Mudra, the gesture of meditation. With a serene expression and a beautiful backdrop of wooded hills, the Daibutsu is a truly spectacular sight.

The Daibutsu is Amida Buddha, who is the focus of Pure Land Buddhism. Originating in China, this sect gained prominence in Japan in the 12th century and remains very popular today. The central teaching is that through devotion to Amida Buddha, expressed through mantras and sincerity of heart, one will go to the Pure Land or "Western Paradise" after death - a pleasant realm from which it is easy to attain nirvana.

Getting There

The Great Buddha is a 5-minute walk from the Enoden Railway (a streetcar-like train) Hase Station, the third station from Kamakura main station.

Quick Facts on the Great Buddha

Site Information
Names:Daibutsu; Great Buddha of Kamakura; Kotokuin
City:Kamakura
State:Kanto
Country:Japan
Categories:Temples
Faiths:Buddhism; Pure Land
Dates:1252
Status:active
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Kamakura, Japan
Coordinates:35.316697° N, 139.535680° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of the Great Buddha

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Great Buddha. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Beth Reiber, Frommer's Tokyo, 8th ed.
  2. Great Buddha - Japan-Guide.com

More Information

Article Info

Title:Great Buddha, Kamakura
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:10/04/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/japan/kamakura-great-buddha
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/japan/kamakura-great-buddha">Great Buddha, Kamakura</a>