A tourist spot whose popularity is rising
The biggest memorial park in a metropolitan area, Ushiku Jouen is also a site for recreation and relaxation, and it is a tourist spot whose popularity has been rising as a Buddhist facility that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The Ushiku Daibutsu within the site is known as a giant Buddhist statue listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. It is an enlarged form of the Amithaba Buddha, and it measures 120m in height and it boasts its status as the world’s largest bronze statue. When you think of New York’s Statue of Liberty at 93m, it has a tremendous impact when you look up at the Ushiku Daibutsu. Since its completion in 1992, it has had a short history, but you can go inside it where you can experience the contemporary world of Buddhism which has meditated on various ideas.
A mysterious hands-on Buddhist zone within the statue
Anyone can enter the statue which is divided into 5 levels (Translator’s Note: Aren’t there only 4 levels?). There is a space where the shakyo or copying of Buddhist sutras from the sermons of a priest can be done. Then on the 3rd floor, 3400 gold Buddha statues are arranged, and you can view the world of Buddhism expressing its idea of Heaven. From the observation platform at the Buddha’s chest area on the highest level at 85m, you can look out over the landscape of tranquil Ushiku with its fields spreading out, and on sunny days, you can even see Tokyo Sky Tree and even Mt. Fuji far off in the distance.
Attractions that can be enjoyed by the family
There are attractions for children within the park grounds. There is a petting zoo where you can feed and even touch small animals such as rabbits and squirrels. Also, a show featuring the traditional Japanese entertainment of sarumawashi (monkey acrobatics) is popular. In the fields right in front of the Ushiku Buddha, pretty flowers bloom everywhere in the spring and fall, and you can enjoy picking them. The sight of the Ushiku Buddha standing among fields of poppies and cosmos is a tranquil one.