Over the years I have passed through Ofuna in Kanagawa prefecture a few times and have always noticed a giant white goddess statue looming in the mountains looking down on the station. The sight of this has always been of interest to me but it always seemed too much trouble to stop off there or go specifically to see it as I didn’t really know what it was. However, the journey back from Odawara was the perfect opportunity to drop in on Ofuna and so, after I had visited Taya Caverns, I returned to the station area and went in search of the giant white goddess.
It’s just a short walk up to the entrance gate of the Buddhist temple yet it took me a while to locate the walkway going to the top. I tried round the side and couldn’t find it but a young girl took me back the right way and sent me on my way to the side of the Lawson convenience store and eventually I found my way. It costs 300 yen to enter and the top corner of the two pictures below shows the very clean, white statue sticking out from behind the trees.
There are two ways of getting to the top with steep steps being the option on the left and the slightly longer winding ramp to the right.
There is a symbol of peace featuring a flame lit from one burning in Hiroshima which burns in memory of the hundreds of thousands of citizens who died during the Atomic bomb attack on August 6th, 1945. The temple site contains stones carried from the ground zero of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which commemorate the souls of those who died as a result of the bomb attacks.
Steps lead up to the 25 metre, 1900-ton reinforced concrete statue of the Bodhisattva Kannon. Due to the outbreak of war in the Pacific among other things, it actually took just over three decades to complete this “goddess of mercy” statue. It is part of the Kamakura district but due to its location doesn’t really form part of the series temples and shrines that are popular amongst sightseers visiting Kamakura City.
Some of the ema (wooden blocks for prayers) were very picturesque and if you go round the back of the statue you can go inside which you may as well do if you’ve come this far. I popped in for a quick look at the shrine and museum which features a collection of origami and paintings among other things.
How to get there: Take the west exit at JR Ofuna station, cross the river and you should be able to see a Lawson convenience store slightly to your right. Walk towards it and turn left immediately after it and then turn left at the end of the short road.
If you turn right at the top of the road beside Lawson then you’ll come across the kind of thing seen below. If you’re looking for Ofunakannon-ji Temple though, then you’ve gone the wrong way!!
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Kanagawa Sights’
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Taya Caverns In Ofuna’
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Kamakura’