Ushiku Buddha – The Giant Daibutsu Buddha of Ibaraki
Daibutsu, in Japanese, refers to "Big Buddha".
Unlike the infamous big bronze seated Buddha statues in Nara and Kamakura, Ushiku Buddha is often overlooked or unknown to many. Ushiku Buddha is located in Ibaraki Prefecture, in a rather rural, non-touristy area.
Truthfully, before moving to Ibaraki, I had never heard of Ushiku Buddha. I am glad I made a trip down to visit it in person with my own eyes.
Contrary to many seated Buddha statues, the Ushiku Buddha statue stands at a marvelous height of 120 metres, with a 10 metres base and 10 metres lotus platform. What you see in pictures are nothing compared to what meets the naked eye.
The Ushiku Buddha was built in the year 1993 and was one of the top 5 tallest building in the world as of 2018. It is actually taller than the Statue of Liberty in America.
The left hand of the statue stands at 18 metres long. Even its toe is 1.5 metres in height.
My first thought was, "That is one massive toe!" Just imagine how it is really like in person-simply amazing.
Inside the Statue
Entering the statue brings you to the first floor known as the "World of Infinite Light & Life".
The first floor is a dimmed corridor lighted up by brightly lit Buddha statues.
Proceeding onto the second floor is a gallery regarding the history and construction process. Furthering on, there are dozens of painted pictures of the Buddha statue and desks for guests to practice their calligraphy.
Head up onto the observation deck on the second floor, overseeing Ushiku City. Stand in awe right under the statue’s palms.
The third level is known as the "World of the Lotus Sanctuary". This floor is surrounded by thousands of Buddha statues. If your timing is right, you may even catch the monks carrying out their regular chanting rituals.
The fourth and fifth level provides a view all the way to Tokyo Skytree, from the windows built into the statues chest.
Outside of the Statue
The statue right before your eyes, is surrounded by a vast lush garden. During different seasons, the garden offers a wide variety of flowers and colors.
Fish feeding is also a great activity for young children and adults here.
By the "Fureai Garden Terrace", there is a feeding farm along with a performance from a very talented monkey.
The best season to visit is during spring for the cherry blossoms or in summer for the fireworks and lantern festival.
Admission to the garden and statue is ¥800 for adults and ¥400 for children.
Access to Ushiku Buddha
By train and bus
Ushiku Buddha is accessible from JR Joban Line at Ushiku Station. Catch a bus from Ushiku Station (East Exit) for Ushikudaibutsu (牛久大仏). There is a picture of the Buddha statue at the bus stop which makes it easier to spot.
3 minutes from the Amihigashi IC of the Ken-o Expressway.