Kamakura Daibutsu 高徳院の大仏

  • Published on : 20/11/2019
  • by : C.V. / I.D.O
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    3/5

The bronze giant of the Kôtokuin temple

All that remains of the ancient Kotoku-in temple is its jewel which, for centuries, has marked its existence: the Great Bronze Buddha. For nearly eight centuries, the great Buddha "daibutsu" of Kamakura, the emblem of the city, has attracted crowds. Unfazed, he watches over the ancient capital and its inhabitants, but this national treasure has witnessed periods of war-ridden turbulent ages. 

The turbulent history of the great Buddha

Its construction would have started in 1252 and it was sheltered in the Daibutsu-den hall of the Kotoku-in temple. According to some chronicles, the temple was damaged by typhoons in 1334 and 1369, and an earthquake in 1498, finally destroyed the building. But other documents trace the destruction of the temple to an earlier date.

It is therefore difficult to know precisely as the statue has been left in the open air and why the temple was never rebuilt.

Kamakura, Grand Bouddha

Kamakura, Grand Bouddha

Gilles Desjardins

From a distance, his head may seem disproportionate to his body but it is voluntary, the closer you get, the more the whole and becomes harmonious ... Just like the path that leads to Buddha Amitabha and his world of peace and harmony as his hands are joined in a position of great meditation.

At 11.31 meters high (13.35 meters including the platform), it is the second-largest seated bronze Buddha in Japan. It was cast in several successive layers of bronze with two small windows in its back, it should be known that they were used to pour the earth and the molding used to erect the statue. To unravel the mysteries of its imposing stature, enter the interior of the monument and discover the ancient techniques of its assembling.

Imposing figure: it weighs 121 tons. Her face is 2.35 meters high, her eyes are one meter wide each, her mouth is 82cm while his long ears are 1.90 meters, and his hairstyle features 656 small individual curls.

Originally, the statue was completely gilded, but weathering has eroded its gold cover over centuries. However, if you look carefully, you can still see some traces of it.

 

Les fenêtres qui ont servi à la construction du Daibutsu sont restées telles quelles

Les fenêtres qui ont servi à la construction du Daibutsu sont restées telles quelles

Attribution: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons

The domain of the Kotoku-in temple

To the right of the statue, sheltered under a roof, two huge straw sandals (warazori, 1.80 m high, 90 cm wide and 45 kilos), catch the eye. They are children of a club in the city of Hitachi-Ota (Ibaraki prefecture) who, after World War II , braided and offered these shoes to the big Buddha to travel around Japan in order to bring comfort to the Japanese people. And since then, every three years, the children of the same club have been responsible for making new sandals and offering them to the Kotoku-in temple.

Le Daibutsu de Kamakura à la saison des cerisiers en fleur

Le Daibutsu de Kamakura à la saison des cerisiers en fleur

bryan..., Flickr

Great Buddha, Kamakura

Great Buddha, Kamakura

I.D.O.


Address, timetable & access

  • Address

  • Phone

    +81 467-22-0703
  • Timetable

    Enoden Line from Kamakura Station to Hase Station. On foot, the 3 km trail called "Daibutsu hike" takes you from Kitakamakura to Hase.
  • Price

    Adult: 300 yen / 150 yen: between 6 and 12 years old; free for children under 6 years old. (20 yen supplement for inside Daibutsu)
  • Access

    8 am-5pm daily
  • Website

    http://www.kotoku-in.jp/en/about/about.html

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