The Search for the Mythical Big Buddha
The official website of the Ushiku Daibutsu (Big Buddha) mentioned that this is the largest statue on the planet since 1995. But many people do not know about the Daibutsu and no mention of this place made in Lonely Planet Japan. So this journey is regarded to be a off-the-beaten track kind.
Ushiku is 50 km north-east of Tokyo central. From Ueno station, take the JR Joban Line which costs 950 Yen, 50 minutes.
During the train ride, the urban mass of Tokyo recedes and took over by the agricultural region of the Kanto plains.
The train captain announces the station 'Ushiku'. It looks quite different from the picture seen on the website; perhaps from a different angle. The station is totally empty even though today is still considered to be Golden Week. After leaving the station gates, a poster of the Ushiku Daibutsu is set on the wall, indicating the bus number to take at the bus terminal.
The frequency of the buses is approximately 1 hour on public holidays and weekends. There are only 2 additional passengers on the bus and it is a direct route from the train station to the park with no stops in between. The cost is 500 Yen in all, taking 25 minutes.
Since the statue is said to be 120 metres, it should be noticeable from a distance away. But much of the journey was blocked by trees and houses. Only 15 minutes later did the big statue loom in.
We alighted at the park and was greeted by a common scene of food stalls.
I paid the entrance sum of 800 Yen and walk around the front entrance. A stage was setup celebrating Golden Week with a huge crowd gathering around it. But as compared to the Kamakura Daibutsu the day before, there is just no squeezing and packing through the park. It is wide open and peaceful, perfect for a getaway from the over populated city scape.
The towering Amida Daibutsu at a 10 minutes walk away.
Along the way, a park with spring time flowers was seen.
A mini garden is set in the park. This is liken to the Pure Land of Amida Buddha.
Amida Daibutsu from up close.
Entering the Daibutsu, a mystical feel is established.
A golden Buddha representation welcomes the visitors to Daibutsu.
Gifts from the Southeastern Asian kingdoms. The one to the left is offered by Burma and the one to the right is of Thai origin. In the middle is a stupa containing a holy relic.
An altar in the room of thousands Buddha.
The thousands Buddha.
A Buddhist monk with his lay devotees. I noticed he is constantly reciting 'Namo Amida Butsu' whenever he is free; his hands are moving the prayer beads.
The sutra writing hall.
Copying of sutras will require calligraphy knowledge.
The visitors are free to pick the flower after a designated time.