Despite being the third tallest Buddha statue in the world, this statue seems to be one of Japan’s well-hidden secrets. Towering over the countryside town, Ushiku, Ibaraki-ken, the Buddha weighs in at 4,003 tons and stands 120 meters tall – double that of The Statue of Liberty.
The Daibutsu (Buddha) is surrounded by nature – fields of flowers, bonsai trees and rivers. You can take a stroll through these parks with some delicious Matcha Ice cream and see the Buddha peeping over the trees.
Not only can you gape in awe at the Buddha from the outside – you can go inside too. You enter the Buddha to a pitch dark room scented with incense. You are then greeted and lead inside a lift that takes you 85 meters up to an observation deck. The views are mostly of lush greenery, but if you are lucky, on a very clear day, you could see Fuji-san. As you make your way back down the Buddha, you can get lost in the history of the Daibutsu and even compare your height to a replica of the Buddha’s big toe! To round things off, there’s a charming gift shop before your exit the Buddha.
Situated just one hour away from Tokyo, going to see the Ushiku Daibutsu is an exciting day trip and a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Simply take the Joban Line from Kitasenjuu and get off at Ushiku (牛久). Here you can take a bus straight to the Buddha for around 600 yen.
It’s also a great opportunity to see the real Japan outside of Tokyo and interact with the friendly locals – They are always excited to see you in their humble, country town.