In 1993 when it was built, with its height of 120 meters, the Ushiku Daibutsu - Great Buddha - from Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, was the tallest statue in the world. To put its size into perspective, it is almost 3 times the size of the Statue of Liberty, which without the pedestal is “just” 46 meters tall. The Kamakura Daibutsu, the most famous Great Buddha from Japan, measures from one knee to the other 9.1 meters, so it can easily fit into the 18-meters-long hand of Ushiku Daibutsu!
Since its completion, the Ushiku Daibutsu was surpassed by two other huge statues, the Spring Temple Buddha from China (153 meters) and the Laykyun Setkyar from Myanmar (130 meters), but it is still the tallest statue from Japan.
Ushiku Daibutsu represents Amitābha Buddha - the Buddha of Infinite Light - the main Buddha of the Pure Land sect and it was modeled after a statue located at the Higashi Hongan-ji Temple from Asakusa.
Travel tip: Ushinku Daibutsu can be easily visited on a side trip from Tokyo. If you take a Joban rapid train from Ueno, you will reach Ushiku in 45 - 60 minutes and the ticket costs 950 yen. In Ushiku, go to the East exit and from there you will find buses leaving for Ushiku Daibutsu - it will take about half an hour.
During weekends, the buses for Daibutsu are leaving from the JR Station every hour, but if you go on a workday, you will find buses only at 9:55, 11:35, 12:55, 13:50 and 15:20. Also if you go on a workday, be careful to plan your return: you will need at least one hour to visit the interior and the returning buses are scheduled at 10:35, 13:00, 13:45, 14:35 and 16:10.
Ushiku Daibutsu, Ushiku
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: Japan’s most scenic beauty, Amanohashidate