Ushiku Daibutsu 牛久大仏
Meet the Buddha that towers over Ibaraki
One of the three largest Buddha statues in the world, Ushiku Daibutsu is said to be big enough to hold Nara Prefecture's Todaiji Buddha statue in its hand. Visit and climb this statue to take in amazing views of the area and learn about the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism.
- Climb to the 85-meter observation floor for views of the surrounding landscape
- Learn about Buddhism in the lower floors of the statue
- Stroll through the nearby gardens and enjoy seasonal flowers
How to Get There
Although a little off the beaten path, getting to Ushiku Daibutsu is worth the effort. The nearest train station is Ushiku Station on the JR Joban Line, which runs from Nippori and Ueno Stations in Tokyo.
From Ushiku Station, take the bus from the east exit's Platform 2. Get off at the Ushiku-Daibutsu bus stop. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes.
In the palm of its hand
Ushiku Daibutsu was built in 1993 to commemorate the birth of Shinran, founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism. At 120 meters (the equivalent of a 38-story building) and weighing 4,000 tons, it's one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.
Enter the lotus
While Ushiku Daibutsu is truly a sight to behold, a tour that takes you inside and high up this enormous statue is what sets it apart.
Your tour starts when you enter the lotus-shaped platform and find yourself in a dark room with burning incense and soft music. Lit by only a shaft of light, the room has a solemn and sacred atmosphere. From here, you proceed to the next level to a big room surrounded by over 3,000 small golden Buddha statues set in the walls.
Scale the statue
An elevator takes you up to an observation floor 85 meters up where you can look out windows set at the statue's chest and see sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. On a clear day, you can see as far as Tokyo Skytree. The observation floor features displays and information on how the statue was built.
All that nature has to offer
Outside, there's a garden full of flowers blooming throughout the year. Including hydrangeas, peonies, moss phlox, poppies, and cosmoses, you're allowed to pick the flowers and keep them as a special souvenir. During the cherry blossom season the park area is awash in pale pink. Younger visitors will delight in the pond full of koi and a small petting zoo with rabbits, squirrels, and other critters.
Watch the fireworks show
During the summer, there's a special light show and fireworks display that lights up the statue. Many also visit Ushiku Daibutsu for their New Year's shrine visit.
From the city of Tsukuba , also in Ibaraki , you can make the trip out to Ushiku Daibutsu in a few hours. It's best to visit in the morning to make the most of the trip but especially so during winter to ensure you get a good view from the observation deck prior to the afternoon setting of the sun.