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Ushiku Buddha stands 120 meters tall, being the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. Located in the city of Ushiku in Ibaraki Prefecture, the Ushiku Buddha was made in 1993 to honor Shinran, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist sect. Aside from just seeing the Buddha statue from its exterior, you can also go inside and see the world through the Buddha’s eyes from the observatory. Here are some must-see sights at the Ushiku Buddha statue.

Why there is a Buddha statue in Ushika

The Ushika Buddha, officially named Ushika Amida Buddha, is located in Ushika city of Ibaraki prefecture and belongs to the Jodo-shin sect. Built in 1993, the statue stands at 120 meters. The number, 120, comes from the 12 lights that are needed to shine light on all things in the beliefs of Amithaba.

Inside the Ushiku Buddha

The inside of the Ushiku Buddha is open to the public, and consists of five floors. Here is an overview of what is inside each floor:

First Floor: World of Light - 光の世界

As you enter the Buddha, you will first step into the lobby floor, named the World of Light. The entire lobby is dark and symbolizes mankind’s afflictions.

Second Floor: World of Prayer and Gratitude – 念仏の世界 / 知恩報徳の世界


The shakyo experience area

The second floor of the Buddha is the World of Prayer. Here, you can observe the many scriptures on display. There is also a shakyo (写経) experience area, a practice of transcribing Buddhist sutras by hand. Here, you can sit down and transcribe the sutra with a traditional calligraphy brush, which makes for a relaxing and unique experience. During the New Years season, you can have a professional calligraphy instructor help you with kakizome (書き初め), or first calligraphy writing of the year.
Shakyo Experience:

・Fee: ¥200 (per transcription)

Third floor: World of Lotus – 蓮華蔵世界


3,400 small Buddha statues inside the Ushiku Buddha

In the World of Lotus, approximately 3,400 miniature Buddha statues rest inside the room. The walls and statues all radiate in gold, and is a sacred and enchanting sight. In the early mornings and evenings, you can listen to the priests chanting the sutra.

Fourth and fifth floors: Room of Mt. Ryojusen – 霊鷲山の間

The final floors of the Buddha is where the observatory locates. The observatory stands at 85 meters above ground level, and from there you can see the flower field below and even as far as Tokyo Skytree on clear days. The Room of Mt. Ryojusen is inspired by Mt. Grdhrakuta in India, and is where the supposed Buddha’s ashes are stored.

Sights to see nearby

Petting Zoo


Squirrel at the petting zoo

There is a petting zoo specializing in small mammals just outside of the Ushiku Budda. The petting zoo is home to cute creatures like rabbits, squirrels and goats. The monkey show is popular amongst visitors, as it is frequently performed and is interactive and fun. At the café by the zoo, you can have a quick meal and take a rest.

Jodo-teien Garden

The area surrounding the Ushiku Buddha is collectively named the Jodo-teien. The area is filled with nature and traditional Japanese artifacts.

Teiju-en Flower Garden – 定聚苑


Cosmos blossoming around the Ushiku Buddha

Approximately 10,000㎡ of flowers envelop the Ushiku Buddha statue. Every spring, summer and fall, seasonal flowers decorate the Teiju-en flower garden. Most of the flowers are available to pick, so you can create your own seasonal bouquets to take home.

Hakkenmon Gate – 發遣門


The smaller Buddha statues inside the gate and the reflecting Ushiku Buddha

In order to get to the Ushiku Buddha, you must first go through the Hakkenmon Gate. At the top of the gate is a clear display, where you can see a Buddha statue greeting you as you go on to the Ushiku Buddha.

Hongan-sogen Garden – 本願荘厳の庭


Hogan-sogen traditional Japanese garden

There is a traditional Japanese style garden in the premise as well. The garden is built in Jodo style, a popular architectural style from around 8th to 14th century Japan. The Jodo style garden features a pond and beautiful scenery to replicate the Buddhist ideal of a utopia.

Daikoro (incense burner) – 大香炉

The incense burner seen right before the Ushiku Buddha is the biggest in Japan. The circumference measures 2.5 meters at its widest.

Nakamise – 仲見世

On the outskirts of the Ushiku Buddha premise is the nakamise (仲見世), or shopping street. The streets are packed with souvenir shops that sell snacks and items that are only sold in Ibaraki prefecture. You can also munch on street food as you buy souvenirs.

Events

Shusho-e – 修正会 (Jan.)


New Years celebration at the Ushiku Buddha

Shusho-e is the end of year and new years celebration at the Ushiku Buddha. The celebration begins on the night of December 31st, and continues for three days. During this event, you can witness the Ushiku Buddha light up with fireworks in the background too. As for the inside of the Buddha, it is only open up to the third floor, but admission is free during the event.

Manto-e – 万燈会 (Aug.)


Fireworks and paper lanterns around the Ushiku Buddha

Manto-e festival is held during the peak of the summer heat. The main attraction of this event is the uncountable number of paper lanterns illuminating the summer night. Along with the paper lanterns, the Ushiku Buddha is also lit up from below.

Access

Nearest Station: Ushiku Station 牛久駅 (JR Joban Line) or Ushiku Daibutsu Bus Stop

From Tokyo Station 東京駅

【Tokyo Sta.】JR Ueno Tokyo Line / for Tsuchiura
→【Ushiku Sta.】Bus / for Ushiku Daibutsu・Ushiku-joen or Ami Premium Outlet
→【Ushiku Daibutsu Bus Stop】

From Mito Station 水戸駅

【Mito Sta.】JR Ueno Tokyo Line / for Ueno
→【Ushiku Sta.】Bus / for Ushiku Daibutsu・Ushiku-joen or Ami Premium Outlet
→【Ushiku Daibutsu Bus Stop】

From Ibaraki Airport 茨城空港

【Ibaraki Airport Sta.】Ibaraki Airport Line Bus / for Ishioka
→【Ishioka Sta.】JR Joban Line / for Ueno
→【Ushiku Sta.】Bus / for Ushiku Daibutsu・Ushiku-joen or Ami Premium Outlet
→【Ushiku Daibutsu Bus Stop】

Information

Address
2083 Hisano-machi, Ushiku-shi, Ibaraki
Phone
029-889-2931
Hours
Mar. to Sept.
・Monday to Friday: 9:30a.m. - 5:00p.m.
・Saturday and Sunday: 9:30a.m. - 5:30p.m.

Oct. to Feb.
・9:30a.m. - 4:30a.m.
Closed
Open year-round
Fee
All-inclusive (inside the Buddha, petting zoo, garden)
・General (junior high school students and above): ¥800
・Children (elementary school students): ¥400

Petting zoo and garden
・General (junior high school students and above): ¥500
・Children (elementary school students): ¥300

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