A giant white-robed goddess of mercy standing tall and overlooking Japanese towns and cities is something that always grabs my attention. This one is located a couple of hours north of Tokyo and as soon as I found out about it at the start of the year I was keen to check it out and see it up close.
Once I was finished at the sacred underground palace I walked through Kannonyama Park and it ended up taking about 40 minutes to reach Byakue Dai-kannon (2710-1 Ishiharamachi, Takasaki, Gunma-ken) although that duration time is higher than reality as I went the wrong way a couple of times. Anyone who can follow their maps app better than me will find that it takes about half that time! For the record, the bus from stop #8 at Takasaki Station goes directly to the statue and takes just under half an hour.
As I was absolutely dripping in sweat by the time I arrived at the temple my first task was not to photograph the goddess of mercy statue but to get a drink! A quick break and then it was time to study the impressive statue looming in the clouds high above me!
The 88 temples of Shikoku is a fairly well-known pilgrimage done by about 300,000 people each year and a few months ago I came across a lesser one of similar nature in Izu. Little did I know but this white kannon statue is the first stop on the pilgrimage of the 88 holy grounds in the Kanto region of Japan.
This symbol of Takasaki, which was constructed in 1936, measures 41.8 metres in height and weighs in at 5,985 tons. It was designated a Tangible Cultural Property of Japan in 2000. The concrete statue’s gaze is said to be compassionate and gentle and she protects the peaceful existence of the people worshipping down at her feet.
Entrance is round the back and I paid 300 yen to go inside unaware of what I was really paying for. I had hoped for a lift to take me to the summit. No such luck though as it was stairs all the way! I`m not sure how far up it is but from looking at pictures of it it seems like it`s close to the shoulders.
The inside consists of nine levels with each one possessing small Buddhist statues.
Along the way there is also some great artwork detailing the construction of the statue.
Sweeping views of the city`s lush green vegetation dominate the view from the top on all sides with the mountains of Tochigi, Nagano and Saitama Prefectures just about visible in the distance.
At just under 42 metres tall, this kannon statue doesn`t quite reach the heights of the ones I`ve seen in Sendai and Aizuwakamatsu (Fukushima) but it is impressive nevertheless and is definitely worth visiting in an area of Gunma prefecture with a few other delights.
Click here to read `Sendai Daikannon (Daikanmitsuji Temple)`
Click here to read `Tokyo Daytripper: The “Theme Park” In Gunma With A Sloping House, A Mysterious Cave & Not Much More!`
Click here to read ‘The Lost World Ruins Of A Stone Quarry In Gunma’
Click here to read ‘A Shrine Dedicated To Feet & The Last Remnant Of A Former Haunted House In Gunma’