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A Big Buddha is in Tokyo. Yes, there is!
Do you like Big Buddha statues? In Japanese, they are called Daibutsu. You might have heard of the ones in Kamakura and Nara. There are many others. Several are in Tokyo. One of my favorites is at Jorenji Temple. Another is at Tennoji Temple near Yanaka Cemetery. It’s practically in the center of Tokyo.
At 296 cm, I know I’m embellishing the story a little. Tokyo Daibutsu and Kotoku-in in Kamakura are much larger. But Tennoji’s is big enough. And it’s of a similar disposition. Like the others, it is beautiful. The Buddha is in the lotus prayer position and sits upon a concrete pedestal.
You’ll find it in the temple’s courtyard, on the left, against the walls and trees. In front of it are some benches. With its lovely garden, it’s a great place to reflect upon life in a Zen fashion or read a book, as many do. And while you do, you can look at the statue, which will be just in front of you, nestled in the trees.
There is one problem with photographing the Buddha. It’s that corner location. That space looks cramped, and many leaves hang over the statue’s face. It’s a pity its creators hadn’t thought of that for us future photographers! They should have placed it more to the right, in front of the temple.
It is a fabulous statue. Like many of this type, the level of detail is incredible. You can see the mustache, knuckles on the hands, and folds in the clothes. It is a work of art.
A brief history of the Tennoji Big Buddha
- 1690 – created by Kyuemon Ota. At that time, the statue was to the temple’s right, near the present remains of the five-story pagoda.
- 1874 – the statue was moved to the western corner of Yanaka Cemetery.
- 1933 – it was moved to this site and placed upon a concrete pedestal
- 1993 – Taito Ward registered it as a tangible cultural asset.
Where is the Big Buddha?
It is between Nippori Station and Yanaka Cemetery. I doubt you’ll have trouble finding it. Click here to see it on Google Maps.
If you ever take a walk around the Yamanote line, as many people do, drop into Tennoji. You’ll be able to take a nice break in a beautiful temple garden and get some pictures of a big Buddha. Also, Yanaka Cemetery, with the grave of Japan’s last shogun, is next door. If you are into Buddhism or a Japanese history fan, you are in for a treat!
And if you are looking for more of these big statues, check out Tokyo Daibutsu. It is also in Tokyo. You don’t have to travel far to see a Big Buddha. Please leave questions and comments below.