Monday, August 20, 2012

Destination: Ushuku Daibutsu, Ibaraki

Having just relocated from Nagano to Ibaraki-ken, AJ co-founder Dom and I have a lot of exploring to do!
We started with the largest standing Buddha in the world, located in Ushiku, southern Ibaraki. 

Despite not being well known in Japan, the Ushiku Daibutsu is not only the biggest Buddha in the world, but also one of the tallest statues, standing at 120 metres.

To get an idea of how massive this Buddah is, take a look at some of the numbers:

Length of left hand: 20m
Length of one eye: 2.5m
Index finger: 7m
Weight: 400t

Visitors can visit the four-story museum hidden within the statue.

The 1st floor holds 'The World of Infinite Light and Life'. The 2nd contains 'The World of Gratitude and Thankfulness'. The 3rd floor, at 20-30meters high, is 'The world of the Lotus sanctuary'.

From here visitors must take an elevator to the 4th floor in Buddha's Chest (85metres) where there are some windows from which you can see the local surroundings.

Inside there's a shop, thousands of golden Buddha statues, construction pictures and a viewing platform.

At the base of the Buddha visitors are treated to, bizarrely enough, a petting zoo; featuring rabbits, squirrels, wild boar, goats and a monkey. Entry is free, and for 100yen you can buy carrots and sunflower seeds for feeding.

There's also a small Japanese garden and koi carp pond. There are so many koi that they practically leap out of the water for food. See this poor-quality phone-video I took for proof:

By Car: 3 minutes from the Amihigashi interchange of the Ken-O expressway.

By Train: From Tokyo you need to take the train to 牛久 (Ushiku) station, taking around one hour. 
From there you can take the bus for around 500yen. 

Tickets are 500 yen for the garden and animal park, or you can enter the Buddha for 800yen. 
(Ticket prices vary seasonally. The above prices are for peak seasons)

Dom and oven glove.

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