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Tokyo Daibutsu – There is a Big Buddha in Tokyo

Japan’s third-largest bronze Buddha, Tokyo Daibutsu (or Tokyo’s Big Buddha), is at the temple of Jorenji.  At thirty-two tons and thirteen meters high, it is a fraction smaller than the one in Kamakura. While it is a little difficult to get to, it is worth the effort.  

Big Buddha head

There is nothing special about the area where Jorenji is.  Skyscrapers and car-jammed roads are nowhere to be seen.  Nor are there cat cafes.    It’s no Asakusa or Harajuku.  It is all houses and trees.  Everything is Tokyo suburbia.  

Jorenji temple

The entrance to the temple is up a classic steep staircase.  It is like one of those you see in the Samurai movies.  Luckily, this one isn’t too long!  On it is a gate (as at other temples) housing the four heavenly kings of Buddhism.


Once past the gates and up the last stairs, you’ll be in the middle of the complex.  In front of you will be the main hall.  The Buddha will be on your right.  

It was enshrined in 1977 to commemorate the Great Kanto Earthquake victims of 1923 and World War Two.  Black with soft features, it sits upon a sacred lotus flower pedestal.  The statute is impressive.  Nearby ginkgo trees make it very picturesque in autumn.

Jorenji Tokyo Daibutsu

As it is a Buddhist temple, there is a bell tower, historical graves, a reliquary, and statues.  My favorite statues are the seven deities of luck.  For some reason, they reminded me of Snow White’s Seven Dwarves.  There is even a pond filled with many hungry carp. And of course, there is a shop there where you can buy amulets, miniature Buddhas, ema, and omikuji.

It is a very peaceful, quiet place.  Small but with enough nooks and crannies to please even avid temple-lovers.  Rarely are many people there on a typical day.  Some are there to pray, and some seem to explore, like me.

seven deities of luck

What can you photograph at Tokyo Daibtsu?

  • Shrine architecture.  Jorenjin is another beautiful Tokyo temple.
  • The Buddha.  At thirteen meters high, it is big.  It is also black.  In autumn, when the ginkgo trees behind it are yellow, it is gorgeous.
  • Many smaller Buddhist icons are on the grounds, including the seven deities of luck.  Finding them all is fun. 

Public restrooms

Available

Buddhist statue at Tokyo Daibutsu

Where are Jourenji and Tokyo Daibutsu?

Jourenji and Tokyo Daibutsu are between three stations:

  1. Chikatetsu-Akatsuka on the Tobu-Tojo line, Fukutoshin, and Yurakucho lines.
  2. Nishi-Takashimadaira:  on the Toei-Mita line.
  3. Shimo Akatsuka: on the Tobu-Tojo line. 

It should take you about twenty minutes at a moderate walking pace from all stations.

Here is a Google map: 

Public restrooms

Available

Opening hours

Jourenji is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.  The last entrance is at 3:45 pm.

Admission costs

None

heavenly king of Buddhism at Jorenji

What other photo spots are near Tokyo Daibutsu?

After a visit to Tokyo Daibutsu, you could drop into:

  • the botanical garden, next door.  But, to be honest, it’s not of the same quality as others in Tokyo.
  • The Itabashi Art Museum is very close and has some good displays if you like art. 
  • Other than that, there isn’t that much within easy walking distance.

Wrapping up

Tokyo’s Big Buddha isn’t as far as the one in Kamakura.  But, it is still a long way from the center of the city when you consider the walk.  Still, it is worth making the trip, especially in autumn, when the ginkgo trees are yellow.  

Tokyo Big Buddha

Jourenji and Tokyo Daibutsu are surefire hits for those who enjoy temples and Buddhas.  And I can’t wait to see them in spring.  Hopefully, that will be in 2022.  Anyway, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.  

Fore more Buddhist-related articles, look at:

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