The Giant Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu Temple) is a famous bronze statue and one of the most popular touristic sites of Tokyo, Japan
Kamakura city is at an hour’s ride from the large city of Tokyo in Japan. The Giant Amida Buddha of Kamakura or Diabutsu in the temple of Kotokuin is 44 feet tall and 93 tons in weight bronze statue sitting in a meditative position. The Buddha statue is so huge that you need not have to jostle inside the crowd to see it. This statue is built in and around 1252 and is more than 700 years old. The temple surrounding the great Buddha is very old and had been devastated by the earthquakes and tsunamis at various points of the history. This temple looks very pleasant.
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. It is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed only by the statue in Nara’s Todaiji Temple.
Pure land Buddhism is the sect that gained prominence in japan in the 12 th century is one of the most popular among the many others. The central teaching of this great statue 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.
Various earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural catastrophes have eliminated the building in which the great Buddha was situated but still this statue remained intact from the last hundreds of years. Since then this statue of Buddha sits in the open since 1495, with a breeze of serenity, peace and calm on its face making you go under the awe. When you step aside and sit down and just let your mind focus on where you are and what you are seeing, there is a tremendous sense of gratitude felt for being able to see and experience something so beautiful that has stood the test of time.
Plan the visit
First, make your way to Shinjuku station or Shibuya and catch the JR Shonan Shinjuku line, or go to Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station and take the JR Sobu line; both lines stop at Kita-Kamakura Station and Kamakura Station.
While Kamakura Station is closer to Kotoku-in Temple, getting off at Kita-Kamakura Station allows you to explore several fantastic zen temples upon your arrival in Kamakura: Tokeiji and Jochiji
From Jochiji Temple, follow the signs for the Daibutsu Trail, a 1.4 kilometer hike through the forested hills on the outskirts of town, which leads past several quiet temples before arriving near Kotoku-in Temple and the giant Buddha..
The temple housing the Buddha is open from 8 am to 5:30 pm. There is an entrance fee to the temple to see the Buddha and a small extra fee to climb inside. Please do plan to spend the day exploring the town, including visiting the many temples in the area. After visiting Kotoku-in Temple, consider checking out the nearby Hasedera, another fantastic temple with great views of the town, or taking a walk down to Kamakura’s small beach. From either, a short walk or tram ride will take you to Kamakura Station for the trip back to downtown Tokyo.