Japan Temples: Shodoshima Daikannon
Shodoshima Daikannon 小豆島大観音
It's a Daikannon, or Great Kannon, one of many such monumental statues of the Goddess of Mercy found all over Japan. This one on Shodoshima, the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea between Okayama and Shikoku, is not the biggest - that’s in Sendai, in the north of Japan, but the Shodoshima Daikannon, 50 meters in height, is certainly among the biggest, and in the opinion of many, it's the most elegant and beautiful.
Shodoshima Daikannon was designed by the famous sculptor of Buddhist statues, Sourin Matsuhisa, and was completed in 1993. The full name is the Daihonzan Shodoshima Daikannon Bushiji Temple, and the base of the statue is a functioning temple.
There are numerous statues inside the various halls inside the temple and also in the grounds, but most spectacular are the corridors lined with shelves filled with hundreds and hundreds of miniature Kannon statues.
The Kannon statues also line the walls of the staircase that leads up inside the statue to the top where there are windows in the chest and back offering expansive views over Shodoshima and the Seto Inland Sea.
Here at the top level is a sacred relic, one of the teeth of the historic Buddha, donated by a temple in Sri Lanka. If you don't want to climb all the way up it's possible to take an elevator.
1 Koumagoe, Tonosho, Shozu
Tel: 0879 64 6888
Hours: Open from 8am to 5pm 7 days a week.
Admission: 500 yen