We’ve seen some big Kannon statues before, but this one takes the Zen cake.
When you think of Fukuoka Prefecture, located in the Chubu region of Japan, you might think of wisteria or SpaceWorld’s “Aquarium of Ice”. Now, though, we’ve found a spot that you’ll love if you’re into Buddhism and really big statues.
▼ That is one big baby.
This is Narita-san Kurume Bun-in, otherwise known as the Kurume branch of the Shinsho-ji temple located in Narita city. This particular branch is located in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. It’s a Buddhist site that features one of the largest Kannon statues in all of Japan, as well as a mesmerizing Buddhist pagoda. When you get the two into a picture, it almost looks like you’re at a theme park instead of a sacred site.
▼ In fact, the pagoda has been compared to Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India.
▼ Here’s the real deal. Only slightly similar, right?
There's always a dire need, deep down in all of us, to be on a quest, in searching for serendipity and mindfulness. Though short-lived, I've found mine during a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, India several years ago while immersing myself in the soft hums of chants, the sincere prayers of the devotees on this land of sacredness, the #mahabodhitemple #tbt #throwbackthursday #India #worldheritage
Narita-san’s Kurume branch isn’t exactly easy to get to by train, so we went by car instead. It’s only about 10 minutes away from Kurume IC on the Kyushu Highway. The Budhhist statue and pagoda are so huge that it’s not hard at all to spot it, even when you’re a few minutes away by car.
▼ “You’d better fix that parking job, buddy.”
The Kurume branch opened in 1958. Since then, it has attracted believers from not only Kyushu and other parts of Japan, but from overseas as well. After paying a cheap 500 yen (US $4.58) fee, you can see the huge Buddhist statue — named the “Merciful Mother of Salvation” — up close and personal. Mama is 62 meters (about 203 feet) tall, so she and her baby look more like Godzilla and Mini Godzilla up close.
▼ “So, you want salvation, eh?”
After paying 500 yen, you probably want to do more than look at the outside, right? You’re in luck. The Buddhist pagoda offers tours, and you can also go inside the Kannon statue.
▼ You climb up a lot of stairs…
▼ …and at the top you’ll find some very tiny windows.
▼ If you press your face directly up against the window, it offers a pretty incredible view of the city below.
▼ And, of course, someone had to write “poop” (“unko“) inside the statue…
▼ Besides the Kannon statue, there are a few more interesting things to check out on the grounds, like these statues with expressions you should definitely try out in future selfies.
▼ Oh, and here’s what the inside of the pagoda looks like.
A giant Kannon statue, an Indian-looking Buddhist pagoda, entertaining statues, a great view… if this sounds like something you’d be into, head on over to Fukuoka prefecture and check it out!