Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Great Buddha of Gifu

On our recent visit to Gifu castle, we visited the Shoho-ji Temple. The Shohoji temple is a five minute walk from the Gifu Park, the starting point for the hike or ropeway trip to Mt Kinka. 

The Shohoji Temple is a Buddhist Temple affiliated to the Ohbakusan Manpukuji Temple in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture. The Official name of the temple is Kinpouzan Shohoji. The temple houses the 13.63 meter tall statue of Amida Nyorai or the Great Buddha. 
The Buddha statue is one of the three Great Buddhas' (Daibutsu) of Japan  alongwith the Great Buddha of Nara and the Great Buddha of Kamakura. While the Daibutsus' of Nara and Kamakura are made of metal, the Daibutsu of Gifu is made of wood and coated clay and then covered with  several layers of lacquer and gold leaf. 
Priest Ichyuu, the 11th generation priest of the temple a devout believer of the Great Buddha of Todaiji, Nara and as such he hoped to erect a large image of the Buddha to pray for protection from famines and earthquakes. A large number of scriptures were needed to cover the Great Buddha and the Priest and his students travelled all over Japan to collect the scriptures. Despite working on installing the Big Buddha, Priest Ichyuu passed away in 1815 without seeing the completion of his work. His successor, Priest Kohshuu ensured that the Buddha statue was installed and a grand ceremony was held to mark the completion. 

A smaller wooden statue of the Amida Buddha is placed directly in front of the Great Buddha statue.

When we visited, we were the only visitors at the temple - a stark contrast to the large number of visitors to the Buddha statues at Kamakura and Nara
A small model of the Shohoji Temple is also placed in the main hall. 

Several other statues and paintings surround the Great Buddha statue.

Located in a quiet neighborhood, the Shohoji Temple can be easily missed if you are not looking out for it !  

Address : Gifu prefecture, Gifu city,  Daibutsu-cho   

Entrance fees : Adults 200 yen; Children 100 yen 

Opening hours :  9:00 hrs- 17:00 hrs

Closing days : None

Parking : Limited parking available 

Official Website: http://gifu-daibutsu.com/index.html


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