Regular Tokyo Fox readers will probably be aware that I love a buddha statue and the bigger the better. This particular one is 13.63 metres in height which is impressive in itself but it’s not just the size of this one which makes it appealing.
This buddha can be found at Shōhō-ji Temple in Gifu where it was erected in the late 18th century in the hope that large earthquakes and famine would not occur thereafter.
The centre pillar was constructed with ginkgo tree wood and the framework was built from various types of wood whilst the body was knitted together from many types of bamboo material. The surface was hardened with clay and covered in many buddhist scriptures. Lacquer was then applied to the surface several times and plastered with gold leaves.
A Priest spent a quarter of a century working on this papier-mâché buddha but he passed away in 1815 before it had been completed. Thirteen years later and it was finally finished. Entrance is just 200 yen and to both sides of the big statue on the white walls are some very intriguing painted Buddhist carvings.
Shōhō-ji is a sub-temple of another temple in Kyoto Prefecture and it is the largest dry lacquer statue in Japan. Also, it supposedly has a very unique shape that is unrivalled in Japanese architectural history. If you say so! I definitely can’t spot how!
From the outside, it’s a relatively unassuming building which wouldn’t usually stop me in my tracks but beyond it’s walls lies a fascinating and unique attraction which, given that many people visit the nearby Gifu Castle, is a must-see place when in the area.
The ropeway for Gifu Castle on top of Mount Kinka was just a short walk from there and that was my next stop on my short time in the area.
How to get there: Shōhō Temple (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) is located at Daibutsu-cho 8, Gifu-Shi, Gifu-Ken. It is a 15 minute ride from JR Gifu Station #12 bus stop followed by a five minute walk from Gifu Koen – Rekishi Hakubutsukan-mae bus stop.
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