Gifu Daibutsu Shohoji Temple

Shohoji Temple (Gifu Daibutsu), Gifu 正法寺, 岐阜

Shohoji Temple (Kinpozan Shoboji) is located in Gifu city near Gifu Park (Gifu Koen), just across the road from Gifu City Museum of History and the Nawa Insect Museum.

An Obaku-sect temple of Japanese Zen Buddhism, Shohoji is a sub-temple of Manpukuji Temple in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture.

Shohoji Temple, Gifu, Japan.
Shohoji Temple, Gifu
Shohoji Temple, Gifu, Japan.
Gifu Daibutsu, Shohoji Temple, Gifu

History of Shohoji Temple

Shohoji Temple dates from the early Edo Period in 1638, becoming an Obaku-sect temple in 1692. The exterior of the temple is in the Chinese style.

The 11th head priest of the temple Ichu began planning a giant statue of Shaka Nyorai (the historical Buddha) in around 1790, modeled on the Buddha at Todaiji Temple in Nara.

The statue was completed in 1832 by the 12th head priest Koshu, unfortunately some years after Ichu had passed away in 1815.

The statue's dedication was attended by members of the Owari clan from nearby Nagoya.

The Gifu Daibutsu is the largest dry lacquer statue in Japan.

Shohoji Temple, Gifu, Japan.
Gifu Daibutsu, Shohoji Temple, Gifu
Shohoji Temple, Gifu, Japan.
The face of the Buddha is 3.63m wide, Shohoji Temple, Gifu

Shohoji Temple Dimensions

The Buddha at Shohoji Temple is over 13m tall and is built around a 1.8m circumference central pillar made from gingko wood.

The frame is also constructed of wood with the body woven together with bamboo in a construction technique resembling a basket, hence the image's nickname of the "Basket Buddha." This frame was then coated with clay and covered with various Buddhist sutras written on Japanese washi paper.

The surface was then hardened with a coat of lacquer and gilded with gold leaf.

It is believed Ichu traveled around Japan as far as Nagano and Niigata on foot to collect the scriptures that adorn the statue.

In front of the Daibutsu is another statue of Amida Nyorai, the celestial Buddha of Limitless Light.

Shohoji Temple, Gifu, Japan.
Painted Buddhist carvings on the interior walls, Shohoji Temple, Gifu
Shohoji Temple, Gifu, Japan.
Buddhist carvings on the interior walls, Shohoji Temple, Gifu

Shohoji Temple Access

Shohoji Temple
8 Daibutsu-cho
Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture
500-8018
Tel: 058 264 2760
Hours: April to October 9am to 6pm; November to March 9am to 5pm

Admission to Shohoji Temple is 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for children.

Shohoji Temple is located north east of JR Gifu Station. Take a bus from JR Gifu Station or Meitetsu Gifu Station and alight at the Gifukoen Rekishihakubutsukan-mae stop. The bus fare is 210 yen for adults; 100 yen for children.

Shohoji Temple is across the road from Gifu Park at the foot of Mt. Kinka and Gifu Castle. The museums Nawa Insect Museum, Kato Eizo-Toichi Memorial Art Museum and Gifu City Museum of History are all very close.

The museum is also around the corner from Jozaiji Temple and not far from Myoshoji Temple, where the haiku poet Basho once stayed. Visitors here can see a number of the great man's poems as well as the room where he lodged.

Shohoji Temple, Gifu, Japan.
The ears of the Gifu Great Buddha are 1.31m long, Shohoji Temple, Gifu

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