The Kotoku-in Temple in Kamakura is home to “The Great Buddha”, which stands over 40 feet tall. The Buddha is hollow inside, and you can tour the inside for about 20 cents.
The Great Buddha was originally made of wood, and was completed in 1243. A storm damaged the Buddha and the hall in 1248. The wooden Buddha was then replaced with a bronze statue that was completed in 1252. The hall housing the statue was damaged or destroyed on several other occasions, the last being in during a tsunami in 1948.
Since that time, The Great Buddha has been sitting outdoors.
There is a small garden area in front of the temple, which is surrounded by residences, as well as the main street with shops and restaurants.
There are two figures “guarding” the entrance to the temple.
Past the two figures, the familiar sight of the chozuya welcomes you.
There is a small tree garden located to the left, in which most of the trees were donated by the former Thai king.
The Great Buddha sits in a large courtyard, where he sits peacefully in a zen-like state. The statue is both imposing and calming at the same time.
As previously mentioned, you can see the indoors of the Buddha by paying about 20 cents. There has been lots of graffiti and thefts inside of the Buddha over the years. The interior of the statue is currently undergoing restorations.
The walls of the courtyard holds various pictures and tells the history of Kotoku-in Temple, as well as the history of the Buddha. The things that stood out most, was a visit by the Dalai Lama, and Buddha’s slippers.
Past the rear courtyard wall is a small area which holds a small temple and garden.
Any trip to Kamakura is almost incomplete without coming to Kotoku-in Temple and The Great Buddha.