The Kamakura Buddha

Notice Kotoku-in

washing water Kamakura
Washing water to purify the hands

After purifying one’s hands, there is a relaxing calm as the Great Buddha comes into view.

First view of Buddha

Kamakura Daibutsu or Amida Nyorai is seated with his hands resting in his lap, shoulders arched and head bent down. The principle deity of the Kotoku-in temple is one of a kind.

buddha poses

Buddha back
(Pic: Shamu Mama)

Buddha half

Designated as a national treasure of Japan, the construction of the statue began in 1252 and continued for about ten years. This is the second largest Buddha in Japan. Made of bronze metal (said to be originally gold plated), the statue itself is 11.3 m, resting on a pedestal of 2.1 m.

One has the unique opportunity to take the steps that lead up to the hollow of the statue. Here, an effort has been made to understand and explain the ikarakuri technique used all those centuries ago. The statue was cast in 30 separate pieces, and three different techniques were used to fasten together the different pieces. In 1960, fortified plastic ERP was applied to the neck to reinforce the head, and a stainless steel plate was inserted between the statue and the pedestal to protect it against earthquakes.

Inside the hollow
Inside the hollow

ikarakuri technique

Kamakura can be reached from Tokyo by train. Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station is about 60 km and it’s a 1.5 km walk from Kamakura Station to the Buddha. Entry fee = 200 yen. To go into the hollow = 20 yen. The site seems to be a favourite for school trips, with the mandatory class photo in front of the Buddha.

class photo

Apart from the photo memories, we brought back a delightful 1.5″ miniature of the Kamakura Buddha, sold at the site.


Photos taken at Kamakura, Japan, 24th May 2019
Information sources: plaques on the site, admission tickets

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