World Peace Giant Kannon
- Asia & Big Statues
- Japan's Tall Statues
- Nearby Kannon Statues
- Access & Information
- Area Map
- Japan Temples & Shrines
World Peace Giant Kannon, Awaji 平和観音寺
The 80 meter tall World Peace Giant Kannon on Awaji Island is still listed among the biggest statues in the world. The towering statue has been surpassed in size and is falling into a state of disrepair, but still manages to impress.
The observation deck clearly visible on the World Peace Kannon
Asia & Big Statues
For whatever reason, Asia seems to have an obsession with monumental statues. If you look at any list of the tallest statues in the world, the vast majority of them are in Asia.
The list is constantly changing as bigger and bigger ones are constructed, and as of this writing the tallest in the world is the 182 meter Statue of Unity in Gujarat, India.
80 meters high and standing on a 20 meter high hill, once one of the biggest statues in the world, the Giant Kannon on Awaji Island looks out over Osaka Bay
Japan's Tall Statues
Japan is home to quite a few of these monuments, with currently seven of the top twenty located here. The Awaji World Peace Kannon being is 14th, but was possibly top of the list in 1982 when it was built.
Many of the statues are of Kannon, sometimes known as Kwannon, sometimes Kanzeon, and Guanyin in Chinese. Commonly referred to as the Goddess of Mercy, "Kannon-sama" is a very popular deity in Japan taking many forms.
However, the world's biggest Kannon statue is currently not to be found in Japan but in China. The 108 meter Guanyin on the island province of Hainan is 8 meters taller than Japan's tallest, the Nyoirin Kannon in Sendai, built in 1991.
The World Peace Giant Kannon on Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture
The Awaji World Peace Kannon was built in 1982 by a local businessman, Toyokichi Okunai. Having made his fortune in real estate, Okunai founded and built the Heiwa Kannon Temple, of which the gate and pagoda still remain.
The statue sits atop a 20 meter high, 5 story building that included a museum, restaurant and gift shop. Like many of the giant Kannon statues in Japan it was possible to climb up to an observation deck near the figure's neck.
For a while it was a popular attraction with thousands of visitors daily, but following Mr. Okunai's death in 1988 his wife took over the site but apparently without much enthusiasm and the property became run down.
Following her death in 2006 it was immediately closed down. Some stabilization work has been done to try and slow down the deterioration of the statue and pagoda to prevent their collapse.
However, as the statue is made out of gypsum, it's is hard to know how much longer it will be able to stay standing. The whole site has been off-limits since 2011.
Giant Kannon on Awaji Island is now all but abandoned
Nearby Kannon Statues
Not too far away on Shodoshima, a smaller sister island in the Inland Sea, is another giant Kannon statue (Daikannon) that can be climbed inside. This one, however, was designed by a famous sculptor and is much more elegant than the Awaji statue.
The gate and ten storey pagoda at the former Heiwa Kannon Temple on Awaji Island
Access & Information
The World Peace Kannon is located right next to Route 28, the main road running down the coast from Higashiura towards Tsuna, and is impossible to miss.
Accommodation in Awaji
Nearby Places of Interest
Akashi Castle - built in 1619 to protect the approach to Osaka from the west.
Maiko Park - a pleasant park with views of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and some historic residences.
Honpukuji Temple - Ando Tadao's iconic "Water Temple."
Awajishima Museum - dedicated to the history and culture of the island.
Sumoto Castle - Japan's oldest reconstructed castle.
Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park - is located at the epicenter of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
Awaji Puppet Theater - has daily performances of Awaji Ningyo Joruri.
Izanagi Jingu & Onokorojima Shrine - two important shrines connected with Japan's creation myth.
Book Hotel Accommodation in Kobe Japan
The 80 meter tall World Peace Giant Kannon statue on Awaji Island was once one of the biggest statues in the world when constructed in 1982.