If you’ve ever taken a train from Tokyo to Kamakura you might have passed by a large white Kannon statue, wondering what exactly it might be.
At least that’s what happened to me. It’s the Ofuna Kannon Statue of Ofuna Kannonji Temple.
How to get to Ofuna Kannon Statue
Sometimes you wonder if your only choice is to jump off a running train, but in this case it’s really simple. So simple that you might be able to quickly visit the statue on your way to somewhere else. The statue is just a short walk away from Ofuna Station in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture (map).
The Ofuna Kannon Statue of Ofuna Kannonji Temple
The statue stands on the ground of Ofuna Kannonji Temple (大船観音寺). The bodhisattva Kannon statue is 25 m tall and weighs about 1,900 tons.
If you have a closer look at the statue you’ll see an image of Amida within her “head decoration”. The red stone jewelry on the forehead is called “byakugo” (白毫). It is meant to give light to each and every place in the world.
The construction of the statue began in 1929, but wasn’t completed until 1960.
The statue isn’t that big compared to some others in Japan, but it’s still totally worth a visit. You can also enter the statue.
The temple is located on a very small hill named Mugasozan (無我相山), but is more commonly known as Kannonyama (観音山) – “Kannon Mountain”.
Atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
As the temple is dedicated to peace you’ll find stones from ground zero of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki there. Furthermore the temple hosts a long-burning flame originating from the atomic fires in Hiroshima.
The ema of Ofuna Kannonji Temple features a beautiful picture of the kannon statue along with other temple buildings surrounded by cherry blossoms. It’s certainly a very beautiful ema worth buying and taking home as a souvenir. ;)
Ofuna Kannon is the goddess of mercy and people come to pray to her when they feel lonely or homesick.
If you happen to pass by Ofuna during your trip, I highly recommend you get off at Ofuna Station to check out the kannon statue. It won’t take you more than a total of 30 minutes (including getting there from the station and back).