Here comes another big statue-type post! I really should come up with some kind of generic introduction to tack on to the beginning of these kinds of posts. As for this one, it’s up in Sōma which is a city located in Fukushima prefecture and getting there took a while as I didn’t use the Shinkansen (bullet train) to get there.
Instead, I chose to do it by local trains which meant leaving the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre at 6:30am just hours after the World Cup game between Japan and Senegal had concluded. Trains were changed at Ikebukuro, Utsunomiya, Koriyama, Fukushima and Iwanuma before I eventually arrived at Nittaki Station at 14:20!
My maps app told me that it was a 33 minute walk but with trains out that way being fairly infrequent, I decided that I really needed to be on the train 70 minutes after I arrived as I wanted to squeeze in a place in Iwanuma en-route to Sendai. As a result, I decided to jog there which took about 20 minutes.
Of course I didn’t know how long I’d need at the Soma Hyakkushaku Kannon beforehand but I was hoping that it could be done in 5-10 minutes. Luckily, this place was fairly straightforward with the statue (although it’s probably more of an earth-dug carving than a statue!) located across from the pond.
This 27 metres statue was damaged a bit during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and money is currently being raised to help complete the pedestal (taking it to 37 metres in height) and make it Japan’s biggest polished statue of buddha to be dug by hand! Honestly, I’m sure all these buddha statues use some kind of superlative to exclaim how they’re the number one in such and such a thing! This is impressive though because it was all done by one man over 33 years but he sadly didn’t live long enough to finish it which is a similar story to the Gan Kutsu Cliff Face Hotel in Saitama.
There was a building to the right of the statue which was a museum, cafe and gift shop all rolled into one. There wasn’t a staff member anywhere to be seen though!
15 minutes at this place was more than enough for what was basically a one-angle-only photograph stop! The walk back was far more enjoyable and I could really appreciate the beauty and peacefulness of the countryside around me.
I was back at the station with about ten minutes to spare (before the 15:34 train) which really wasn’t bad given I’d only arrived 60 minutes earlier and got to the statue and back in that time. The train arrived exactly on time and from there I headed on back to Iwanuma to see Takekoma Inari Shrine which will appear in the next ‘On The Fox Trail…’ post!
Click here to read ‘A Quick Trip To Matsushima Bay