The Great Buddha

After leaving the beach you should make your way back to the place where you got off the train. Look for a long road with many restaurants and gift shops. At the very end of this road (right next to a gift shop with a big sign for Mt. Fuji) you will come across a large forested park area. This is the Daibutsu temple. The entrance fee is Y200 (about $2.00) for adults and Y100 (about $1.00) for children. Once you get inside, it is about a two minute walk from the entrance to the actual Buddha.

The guide book says, and I can't disagree, that The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha that is located on the grounds of the Kotokuin Temple. With a height of 13.35 meters, it is the second largest Buddha statue in Japan (the largest is located in the Todaiji Temple in Nara which we did not visit unfortunately). We'll agree here it is really big. This is the main attraction in Kamakura and one of the reasons you came here. Trust me people.

giant buddha slippers Among other things while strolling, keep an eye out for Buddha's slippers. They are also big and as far as I know, there are no slippers at the big Buddha in Nara, so we can safely say these are in fact the biggest Buddha slippers in Japan.

Unfortunately this is also smoking area so looking at it from a distance is usually enough. Behind the Buddha, there is a gateway and behind that are some very dirty restrooms that are mostly squat toilets with no toilet paper and smell very bad. There is also a little snack vendor and gift shop.

If you are really into large Buddhas, there is a h-u-g-e reclining Buddha in Bangkok. We've got more detail here.

So who is this Buddha guy anyway? Follow this link for a short introduction to Japanese Buddhism.

One of the cool things about the giant Buddha in Kamakura is that for Y20 (about 20 cents) you can go inside and see the casting and how the whole huge thing was made. The dude is hollow.

The image you see here is looking up, into his neck, from below.

Inside of the Buddha is very cramped and hot, so a stroller isn't the best idea. Also the stairs inside the Buddha are very steep, but do have rails on either side. If you touch the walls of the Buddha, you'll find that they are also quite hot, so be careful. You'll only spend a few minutes inside so smaller kids might be better off waiting outside with one parent.

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