The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kotoku-in, Japan

I spoke too soon - between the Thanksgiving Holiday, a friend visiting from Korea, a niece being born, and my own birthday...well, it's been busier than I had anticipated when last I said that I was going to start keeping the blog routinely. Hopefully this coming week will be less eventful.

In the meantime, another photo blog of a historic site, this one is in the city of Kamakura, Japan.

Located to the south of Tokyo, on a bay, the city of Kamakura is gorgeous. It's a popular tourist destination within Japan, and I can vouch from personal experience that the place bears a strong physical resemblance to Santa Barbara, California.

Kamakura has a fascinating role in Japanese history, but I would like to focus on a specific place, the Kotoku-in, and more specifically the Great Buddha within the temple grounds.

The Kotoku-in is a Buddhist shrine/temple located a 20-minute walk from the beach. The Great Buddha within it is an Amida Buddha, the principle Buddha of the Pure Land sect.

This statue was built around 1252, to replace a wooden statue that had been built in the 1240s but had been damaged in 1248. The bronze statue that now stands was expensive, but funds were raised, and the statue built.

The statue was originally covered in gold plating, but that has long since gone. It remains an impressive statue, though, standing 13.35 meters (approximately 40 feet) in height. And, interestingly, you can enter the statue.

However, you have to move through the statue quickly, and photos don't come out so well when you're using a cheap point-and-click camera.

I loved the irony of the atheist (me) and the western Pagan (Kay) walking through a giant statue of an eastern divinity.

Though the statue is the main draw, the rest of the grounds are quite impressive as well.

The statue is one of the better-known symbols of Japan, and it was an impressive site to see.


Taylor Wray said...

Sweet pics - it's now on my list of things to see in Japan.

Anthroslug said...

Thanks for the compliment. If you get a chance to go there, I very much recommend it. It was a great trip away from Tokyo, and I wouldn't have miinded being able to spend a few days there to explore a bit more.

Anonymous said...

what kind of cheap camera do you have? In this day and age if you travel you can have a decent camera.

Anthroslug said...

I actually have a good Canon SLR camera (and most of the pictures on this blog are taken with it). However, I bought an HP point-and-shoot camera several years back - it was good at the time, but is not so great compared to new cameras.