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The Hill of the Hidden Buddha

Famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando has created a serene masterpiece in Sapporo’s Makomanai Takino Cemetery. The centrepiece of the cemetery is a lavender-ringed mound that encases a 13.5m-tall statue of a sitting Buddha. Coined the “The Buddha’s Head”, only the top of the statue’s head crests through a circular well at the centre of the mound, teasing visitors from afar.

a lavender ringed mound and a buddha head in Makomanai Takino Cemetery


Visitors can first purify their minds by walking past the serene water garden before entering a 40 metre tunnel, which is dimly lit to create a womb-like atmosphere, to get to the foot of the statue. The slow approach builds anticipation until one enters an open dome that reveals the full figure of Buddha, with the sky acting as its halo. 

the serene water garden in Makomanai Takino Cemetery a sitting Buddha in Makomanai Takino Cemetery


Reflecting the natural seasonal beauty of Hokkaido, the mound boasts purple lavender blooms in summer and transitions into a white landscape in winter when the top of the Buddha is capped with snow. More than just a breathtaking visual, visitors can also partake in traditional customs like drawing an omikuji (fortune slip) or writing wishes on an Ema (wooden wishboard). A cafe and gift shop is a good way to end a visit to Atama Daibutsu.


Access: From Makomanai Station, 23-min bus ride via Sapporo Chuo Bus 108, drop off at No.2 bus stop (380 yen)

Address: 2 Takino, Minami-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture

Opening hours: 9am-4pm (April-October), 10am-3pm (November-March)

Entrance fee: 300 yen donation 

Website: Official Website 




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