Japan has a lot of impressive Buddha statues, probably a lot more than you’d think.
A lot of them claim to be the largest, tallest, heaviest etc. of their type, but Ushiku Daibutsu used to be the tallest statue in the WORLD until recently and is noted in the Guinness Book of Records!
Access to Ushiku Daibutsu
Get off at JR Ushiku Station, head to the East Exit (東口) and from bus gate #2 take the bus heading to “Ushiku Daibutsu” (牛久大仏). The bus ride will take about 20-30 mins.
Explanation for the bus timetable (*it’s the very last PDF on that website): The very left is the station (牛久駅東口), the very right is the statue (牛久大仏) where you have to get off (for the second table next to it, it’s the other way round). The bottom two tables are for weekends and holidays. From the bus stop you can already see the statue. You won’t have to walk for more than a minute to reach the entrance.
Ushiku Daibutsu: One of the World’s Tallest Statues
The statue was completed in 1993 and is 120 m tall. With that it used to be the world’s tallest statue until 2002. Now the highest statue is the Spring Temple Buddha in China with 128 m.
The Statue of Liberty is “only” 40 m tall.
It’s the tallest statue in Japan. The statue itself only measures 100 m, but if you include the base (10 m) and lotus platform (10 m) it’s 120 m tall.
The second tallest statue in Japan is the Sendai Daikannon in Miyagi Prefecture (100 m).
Even the most famous Buddha Statue in Japan, the Kamakura Daibutsu, measures only about 13 m.
The statue is made of bronze and represents Amida Buddha which is considered to be “The Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Light”.
Visitors can enter the statue. An elevator lifts you up to 85 m and an observation platform. Apparently you can even see Mt. Fuji on a very clear day.
I doubt I even need to mention that – as always – I didn’t get to see the shy mountain.
Besides the observation platform you’ll find a lot of information about the statue and how it was built.
I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to set up such a huge and heavy bronze statue.
They also proudly present the proof that the statue has made it into the Guinness Book of Records.
They show you how tall the statue is compared to other famous buildings like the Statue of Liberty or the Daibutsu in Nara.
You can also get a few very beautiful shrine and temple seal books and a nice seal from inside the statue. Don’t miss your chance!
Before you leave, you have the opportunity to see the statue from close up. There are these golden paper strips(?!) and lots of coins sticking to it.
Right next to the statue is a lovely Japanese garden.
It might be worth visiting in April as the cherry blossoms and “shibazakura” will turn it into a pink paradise.
Right behind the statue there’s a little petting zoo with lots of cute animals. There were a lot of rabbits, I thought I was on “Rabbit Island” again.
If you buy the “set ticket” entrance to the zoo is already included.
An adorable goat was chilling in the shadow. It didn’t look like it was keen on being touched, so I left it alone.
Pot-bellied pig?? Awww~
There were hundreds of adorable squirrels! You could feed them and they were jumping around and on you like crazy. It was a great opportunity to take photos of them from close-up.
On my way back I noticed that the statue’s image was reflecting as if saying goodbye to the visitors.
If you like tall statues or Buddha statues, I highly recommend visiting. It really makes a nice day trip from Tokyo!
I went in late October and a few autumn colors were already out, but the best time to visit is probably April with all the cherry blossoms and “shibazakura” surrounding the statue.
no entrance 30 mins before closing time