The 13 must see statues in Japan


Built in 1987, to the north of Nagoya on the outskirts of the small city of Kaga is the Kagadera Temple, famed for the enormous golden Kaga Dai-Kannon. Standing at a whopping 73 metres (240 ft) high, the statue towers above the surrounding buildings, yet despite its massive size it is only the 5th tallest statue in Japan, and the 15th tallest statue in the world.

13. Kagadera Temple Dai-Kannon


Completed in 1982 on the eastern coast of Awaji Island, at the western end of Osaka Bay, is the enormous Awaji Kannon Peace Statue. Standing at an enormous 80 metres (260 ft) high it was at the time of its construction the second tallest statue in the world. When completed the statue and the building it stands on was a museum and observation deck, though once the founder and his wife passed away, the site was shut down. Abandoned and considered a safety hazard, no one is allowed into the structure, though it remains a magnificent sight for miles around. It is currently the 4th tallest statue in Japan and the 10th tallest statue in the world.

12. Awaji Kannon Peace Statue

Built in 1961, directly south of the capital, Tokyo, across Tokyo Bay in Chiba Prefecture is the Tokyo Wan Kannon. It stands at 56 metres (184 ft) high facing the entrance to Tokyo Bay. Visitors are able to access the observation deck within the statue for fantastic views across the bay to the city of Yokohama, even able to see Tokyo in the distance.

11. Tokyo-Wan Kannon

In the north of Kyushu island, south of the city of Fukuoka is the Buddhist temple of Narita-san, home to the enormous Guze Jibo Dai-Kannon. Depicting the Guan Yin Bodhisattva holding a baby in her arms, the statue stands at 63 metres (203 ft) high. Built in 1983, it is currently the 6th tallest statue in Japan, and the 22nd tallest statue in the world.

10. Guze Jibo Dai-Kannon


Built in 1989 on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido is the Dai-Kannon Of Kita No Miyako, sometimes referred to as the Kita Dai-Kannon or the Hokkaido Kannon. Standing at 88 metres (289 ft) tall, the statue contains over 20 floors containing shrines and places of worship, as well as a panoramic viewing platform for visitors. At the time of its construction it was the tallest statue in the world. Having held that record for two years, today it is the 3rd tallest statue in Japan, and the 8th tallest statue in the world.

9. Kita Dai-Kannon

Directly south of the capital, Tokyo, across Tokyo Bay in Chiba Prefecture is a temple renowned for its Nihon-ji Daibatsu. Carved from stone in 1783 AD, located on the slopes of Mount Nokogiri, the 31 metres (102 ft) stone statue depicts Yakushiji Nyorai, the Buddha of healing.

8. Nihon-ji Daibatsu


East of Osaka and south of Kyoto is the city of Nara, the one time capital of Japan from 710 AD to 794 AD, what is now known as the Nara period. Within the temple of Todai-ji, inside the Great Buddha Hall is the ancient Daibatsu statue dating from the 8th century. Having been re-cast several times due to earthquake damage, even new additions such as the head date from the mid 17th century. Sitting 15 metres (49 ft) high, made from bronze, the statue weighs roughly 500 tons. A national treasure of Japan, it has been declared part of the Historic Monuments Of Ancient Nara UNESCO World Heritage Site.

7. Tōdai-ji Daibatsu


Completed in 2009, to the south west of the centre of the city of Kobe, close to Osaka Bay, is the 50 ton, 15 metre (50 ft) high Tetsujin-28-Go statue, known in English as 'Gigantor'.

In 1995 the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck the city of Kobe killing nearly 6,500 people and leaving over 300,000 homeless. As the city began the difficult task of reconstruction, it looked for a symbol of inspiration that would give them hope for the future. With the great love of robots within Japanese culture, they chose one of the countries most famous metal men. Created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, a native of Kobe, Tetsujin-28-Go first appeared in comic books as far back as 1956. Today it remains a symbol of the cities recovery and an inspiration of hope to it's people. 

6. Tetsujin-28-Go


Built in 1936, to the north west of the capital, Tokyo, in the city of Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture is the 41.8 metre (137 ft) statue of Byakue Dai-Kannon, meaning 'Goddess Of Mercy'. Loved by it's citizens, regarded as the symbol of Takasaki, visitors can climb to the viewing platform within the statues shoulder for a lovely view over the surrounding gardens.

5. Byakue Dai-Kannon


Completed in 1991 in the city of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, north east of the capital, Tokyo, is the Sendai Daikannon​, the tallest of any Kannon form statue in the world. Standing 100 metres (330 ft) high, the pure white gem bearing Nyoirin Kannon from Shingon Buddhism was at the time of its completion the tallest statue on Earth. As of 2018 it was the equal tallest statue in Japan and the equal 3rd tallest statue in the world. Visitors can take an elevator inside the statue for fantastic panoramic views of the area.

4. Sendai Dai-Kannon


In the north of Kyushu island, south of the city of Fukuoka is the Buddhist temple of Nanzo-in, the main location among the 88 temples that make up the famous Sasaguri pilgrimage route. The temple is today most notable for it's reclining Buddha statue, known as Nehanzo or Shaka Nehan, at 41 metres (134 ft) long, 11 metres (36 ft) high and weighing nearly 300 tons it is often cited to be the largest bronze statue in the world.

3. Nanzo-in


South of the capital, Tokyo, in the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture is the Jōdo-shū Buddhist temple of Kōtoku-in. The temple is renowned for it's Daibatsu, or Great Buddha, a monumental bronze statue that dates back to the 13th century. Originally an indoor statue, the hall within which it stood was destroyed by a storm in 1334 AD, was rebuilt and damaged by another storm 35 years later. Rebuilt again, that building was washed away by a tsunami in 1498 AD, from which time it has remained outside. Having sat for nearly 700 years, standing nearly 13.5 metres (44 ft) high, weighing approximately 121 tons, this bronze statue of Buddha is one of the most famous icons of Japan, designated a national treasure.

2. Kōtoku-in


In the city of Ushiku, in Ibaraki Prefecture to the north east of the capital, Tokyo, is the 100 metre (330 ft) tall Ushiku Daibatsu, a statue depicting Amitabha Buddha. Built in 1993 to commemorate the birth of Shinran, founder of the Jōdo Shinshū, or 'True Pure Land School Of Buddhism', this amazing construction is as of 2018 the equal 3rd tallest statue on the planet. Inside the statue is a four storey building that operates as a museum. On the 3rd floor are 3,000 golden Buddha statues, while the 4th floor observation deck, from 85 metres (279 ft) high offers visitors a view through the Buddha's chest across the adjacent flower garden.

1. Ushiku Daibutsu

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