Great Buddha of Kamakura

February 22nd, 2010
Great Buddha of Kamakura

Above is a the Great Buddha of Kamakura, located in Kamakura Japan.  This statue of Buddha was, at a few points in time, enclosed in a wooden temple.  During a few large storms and a tidal wave back in the 14th and 15th centuries, the wooden structure was blown or washed away, each time leaving the large statue intact.  The statue is made of bronze and is over 13m tall.

Inside the Great Buddha of Kamakura

Inside the Buddha

The children in front of the statue help to give a sense of its size.  They are also the typical example of Japanese pop culture, with their brightly coloured bandanas.  They stand in stark contrast to the conservatively dressed school kids on the right.  The area was filled with children on school trips, and I was lucky to get such a relatively unpopulated shot of the statue.

For a few Yen, you can go inside the statue.  I wasn’t sure what was inside, and thought to myself “how often do you get a chance to go inside a giant statue of Buddha?”  So I paid the fee and went in.  The inside looks pretty much like one would expect the inside of a large bronze statue of Buddha to look like.  That is, it is a large bronze-walled room in the inverse shape of the statue itself.  At the top of the statue is the head area, which has been reinforced recently with some sort of red plastic.  The rest of the statue remains the same as originally constructed way back in 1252.

One thing photos cannot reproduce is sound.  When I was inside, the statue was filled with the echo of a dozen excited Japanese children.  Japanese children, like all other children around the world, have only one volume level–loud.  Needless to say, the inside of this bronze-walled echo chamber was quite loud!  🙂

Due to the overcast skies, I boosted the saturation a bit to bring out the colours in the statue’s corroding metal, as well as the bright colours in the children’s clothing.  I’d have preferred a more interesting or dramatic sky for this picture, but mother nature wasn’t on my side that day.

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2 Responses to “Great Buddha of Kamakura”

  1. Will says:

    Really nice shot showing the scale of the Daibutsu, glad you made the malt of your trip here and traveled about a lot. Kamakura is my favourite spot for a day out from Tokyo, I blogged about it a few months back as well. Great place. I am really enjoying your Japan series.

  2. Rob says:

    Thanks! I really enjoyed Japan, it’s a very photogenic country. If only I had more time there…
    There’s still more to come, I keep finding more keepers!

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