The Great Buddha of Kamakura – Kamakura, Japan - Atlas Obscura
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The Great Buddha of Kamakura

Kamakura, Japan

A bronze statue dating back as far as 1252, still has remnants of gold on its right cheek from ancient gilding. 

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The Great Buddha (or Daibutsu) of Kamakura is one of Japan’s most fascinating historical landmarks.

The enormous bronze statue is a representation of Amida Buddha, located on the grounds of the Kotoku-in (高徳院) temple in Kamakura City. The monument dates all the way back to 1252, though the identity of the original sculptor is not known today. It’s thought to have been cast in bronze collected from melted Chinese coins, and originally plated with gold. Only traces of gold leaf remain on the statue’s right cheek, as it has stood in the open air since the temple building was destroyed in the tsunami of September 20, 1492.

The Daibutsu of Kamakura is the second largest monumental Buddha in Japan (only the Nara Daibutsu is taller), weighing approximately 121 tons and reaching a height of 13.35 meters. For a small donation of 20 yen, visitors can actually go inside the sacred monument and see how it was cast from the inside. This unique experience ensures that a visit to the Daibutsu of Kamakura will be a memorable one.