Ushiku Daibutsu 牛久大仏
Ushiku Daibutsu, located south east of the city of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest Buddhist statue in the world at 120m or equivalent to a 38-story building.
The height of the giant, bronze statue includes the 10m high base and 10m high lotus platform.
The Ushiku Daibutsu weighs an incredible 4000 tons and was built in 1993 to commemorate the birth of Shinran (1173-1263), the founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Japanese Buddhism, with its HQ at the Honganji temples in Kyoto.
Visitors can ride an elevator to the viewing gallery at 85m, from where there are incredbile views on a clear day as far as the Tokyo Skytree.
The Ushiku Daibutsu is also known as the Ushiku Arcadia (Amida's Radiance and Compassion Actually Developing and Illuminating Area).
Ushiku Daibutsu Tour
A tour of the Ushiku Daibutsu starts on the first floor in a dark room called the World of Infinite Light & Life. Visitors proceed to the the Observation Room (Room of Mount Gridhra-kuta; Vulture Peak) in an elevator with exhibits dedicated to the historical Buddha at 85m and then descend to the third floor (World of the Lotus Sanctuary) - which represents the Pure Land of Amida and is surrounded by 3,300 images of the Buddha.
Visitors then exit the statue via the second floor World of Gratitude and Thankfulness where they can copy the sutra Namu Amida Butsu ("I take refuge in the Amida Buddha"),using a traditional Japanese brush and ink.
The lovely gardens surrounding the statue are full of flowers in season, which visitos can pick and take home: cosmos in September and October, poppies in May, peonies and hydrangeas in May and June.
There is also a small petting zoo with squirrels, rabbits and some other small animals.
A light show and fireworks display is held at Ushiku Daibutsu on August 15.
Ushiku Daibutsu Access - how to get to the Ushiku Daibutsu
A bus from Ushiku Station departs from Platform 2 accessible through the station's East Exit, and takes 30-35 minutes to Ushiku-Daibutsu bus stop.
One weekdays there are buses from Ushiku Station at 9.55am, 11.35am, 12.55pm, 1.50pm and 3.20pm; return buses are at 10.35am, 1pm, 1.45pm, 2.35pm and 4.10pm.
On weekends and public holidays there are buses at 9am*, 9.05pm, 10am*, 11am*, 11.20am, 12pm*, 12.50pm, 1.40pm*, 1.45pm, 2.30pm*, 3.15pm, 3.40pm* and 4.40pm*; return buses are at 10.25am*, 11.25am*, 12.10pm, 12.45pm*, 1pm, 1.45pm*, 2.30pm, 2.45pm*, 3.35pm*, 3.55pm, 4.35pm* and 5.35pm*.
*These are direct buses and take 23 minutes.
See here for a timetable for the buses (in Japanese)
By car from Tsukuba, take National Highway 408 or 3 minutes from the Amihigashi IC of the Ken-o Expressway.
Tel: 029 889 2931
March to September: Weekdays: 9.30am-4.30pm; Weekends: 9:30am-5pm
October to February: 9.30am-4pm daily
Admission: April-November 800 yen; December-March 700 yen