Monday, September 12, 2011

Exploring Aizu : Aizumura

On one of our trips in the Bandai-Aizu region, we came across a huge statue on a hillock at a distance. Curious to see what it was, we drove in the direction and reached the Aizumura Park. We purchased our entrance tickets and walked in to see a smaller version of the statue near the entrance. 

A small path ahead led us to a castle like gateway beyond which stood the statue. This castle like gate named as Otemon is supposed to have been modelled after the Nijo castle of Kyoto. 

The statue that had attracted us to the park was that of "Aizu Dai Jibo Kannon", a female form of Buddha and is depicted carrying a small baby in its arms. The Kannon is the Goddess of mercy. The statue is 57 metres high and was completed in August 1987. The statue is actually a tower and about 275 steps lead to a viewing point, which is actually through the Kannon's eyes! 

About 10,000 small golden statues of the Kannon can be seen inside the statue. A golden statue at the base. 

An aerial view of the park below as seen from the foot of the Kannon statue.

The park is actually spread out over 6 acres and has a well tended garden with a Cherry Blossom path, Pines and other flowering plants.

Spring and Autumn appear to be the better seasons to enjoy the flora, but we visited in summer and had to be content seeing the greenery and a few flowers. 

Walking down one of the several paths, we came to a pond, which is home to maybe thousands of carps. 

Sensing any human presence nearby, the hungry carps crowd near the shore for food. 
Crossing the red bridge we reached a hall and a watermill.

 A short walk ahead is a statue of a reclining Buddha. 

Moving ahead we saw a small wooden shrines dedicted to Jizo. 

A three storeyed wooden pagoda stood ahead.

It seemed dwarf-like with the Kannon statue in the backdrop.  

For those unwilling to walk the length of the park, an excursion car is available at regular intervals.

(In the aftermath of the Great Eastern Earthquake and the following nuclear crisis, this region has had some impact of the nuclear radiation. Please check with local sources for relevant safety advisories.)


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