Sunday, 28 September 2014

Day Trip at Kamakura (Part 3)-The Daibutsu, Great Buddha of Kamakura

The Great Buddha of Kamakura
One of the main reasons I came to Kamakura was to see the famous Daibutsu at Kotokuin Temple. In Japan, Daibutsu means "Great Buddha". The 13.35 meter bronze sitting Buddha is the second largest in Japan. For the Japanese, the Daibutsu is considered a legend as it has survived multiple disasters and wars for centuries since it was cast in 1252. The temples that housed the Daibutsu were destroyed thus leaving it in the open.

Front gate of Kotokuin Temple
Picture Map of Kotokuin Temple compound
From Hase-dera temple, it was just a 5 minutes stroll to Kotokuin temple. Visitors would always plan to visit these two temples together since they are in such close distance. It was around 4 pm when I reached the temple but we still could see that it was packed with people. We paid the entrance fee (200 Yen per adult) and proceeded straight into the temple compound.
Family Photo with Daibutsu
Daibutsu with Japanese Children
I could not really explain my feeling when I set eyes on the Great Buddha of Kamakura. I have read all about it's history and see it in the tour guides and internet but nothing beat seeing the real presence itself. It was strange that the temple was supposed to be a ground of tranquility but now overflowed with tourists due to the Daibutsu's influence. I came across an article that there are plans in a certain country to build more larger, higher and imposing Buddha statues. The main reason is to draw in the crowd and generate profits. To me, those are only empty shells and act against the Buddhists' belief. I will certainly not visit them.

Daibutsu & Paulo
Daibutsu & Alison
Daibutsu & Charlotte

The setup of the Kotokuin temple was very simple compared to the rest of the temples I visited. The Daibutsu statue was situated in the center of a large square compound. It was fronted by a small main gate. At the back of the temple lied a small shrine. The whole temple itself was situated in a forest. I could only imagine how serene and peaceful this environment would look after the temple closing hours.
I walked close to the Daibutsu and observed him from close proximity. The expression of the Buddha emitted a sense of kindness and peacefulness. He was seated in a meditation stance, oblivious to the noisy crowd around him. For centuries, he has watched over Kamakura and protected it's people. In return, the believers continued to visit and pay respect to him.
Small shrine at temple back
The crowd dwindled when the closing hours of the temple approached. We continued to hang around, admiring the Buddha and at the same time, rested our legs after a day of continuous walking. When it was time to go, I took one hard look at the Daibutsu again. Perhaps I would be back someday to visit him again.  
Daibutsu from afar

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  1. I have to say, Japan surely seems an interesting country. I'd like to visit it someday...

    1. Hi Anda, thanks for the visit. You will not regret it to put Japan in your travel list :-)

  2. It is so amazing to see that something like that was built in the 1200's, without all our modern technology.

    1. Yep, it's amazing. When I visited Siem Reap at Cambodia, I was stunned by the craftsmanship of those building the ancient temples many centuries ago. It's a wonder how they could craft such beautiful works with only primitive tools

  3. Japan is a really beautiful country. I would really like to visit it someday. And if I will be doing this, I would also like to visit the statue of Budha.

    1. Hi Marcia, yep! You shall visit beautiful Kamakura with it's Big Buddha one day!