Kyushu | Fukuoka Sightseeing Sponsored

Check out the Usuki Stone Buddha and Lotus Garden, Oita

Lotus garden at usuki city, Oita prefecture, Japan.

Sponsored by Tourism Oita

 

Usuki, in addition to being a beautiful samurai town, is also home to an exceptional site which is five kilometers southwest of the city center: rock carved Buddhas named Usuki Sekibutsu.

Stone Buddhas Carved in the Rock at Usuki

The 60 stone Buddhas are divided into four groups connected by a path, surrounded by naturally grown trees and bamboos.

It is said that the statues were established around the end of the Heian period (794-1185) and during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The Buddhas are carved directly into the soft volcanic rock. The stone is located in an area with high humidity, and the humidity makes these beautiful statues susceptible to erosion. This is why great preservation efforts have been made to preserve this heritage. All niches are sheltered to protect them from the weather.

Buddhas Named National Treasure

With these preservation efforts from 1980 to 1994, 59 of the 60 statues were designated Japan’s national treasures. These are the first stone statues in Japan that have been designated as such.

Visiting Course with the Four Buddha Groups

First  Group: Hoki

The first group consists of four galleries with more than 20 statues, with seated Buddhas, standing Bodhisattvas, a Yakushi, a Jizé, and even 10 kings. On some of the statues there is still painted color!

Usuki Buddha Statues at Usuki city, Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Usuki Buddha Statues at Usuki city, Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Second Group: Hoki

There are two small caves in this group. The first is a collection of nearly 9 small statues of Amida Nyorai. There is still a bit of color on some of these deities as well, impressive and magical!

Usuki Buddha Statues at Usuki city, Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

I found these statues the most beautiful of the site, probably the best preserved. We can see all the fine details of the work on the facial features of the great Amida Nyorai.

Usuki Buddha Statues at Usuki city, Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Third Group: Sannosan

This gathering of Buddhas has only 3 statues but one of them is about 3 meters high!

Usuki Buddha Statues at Usuki city, Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Fourth Group: Furuzono

Furuzono consists of 13 statues, and in the middle is a large sculpture of Dainichi Nyorai which is generally considered the most beautiful stone Buddhist statue in Japan. It is the most sacred ensemble of the site even today. From there you can have a beautiful view of the entire valley.When the renovation work began in 1993, they decided to put the statue’s head back on the body rather than leave it on the ground where it had remained for centuries.

The most famous Buddhist Statue, Usuki Buddha Statues at Usuki city, Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Usuki Buddha Statues at Usuki city, Oita prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

The Beautiful Surrounding Countryside, Usuki

The Buddhist caves are located in a peaceful countryside. It would be wonderful to go for a walk in the park to visit  Mangatsu-ji temple and to admire the beautiful lotus fields that are in bloom from mid July to mid August.

Mangatsu-ji temple which is famous for the lotus garden, Usuki, Oita, Japan.

Mangatsu-ji temple which is famous for the lotus garden, Usuki, Oita, Japan.

Mangatsu-ji temple which is famous for the lotus garden, Usuki, Oita, Japan.

How to Get to Usuki Sekibutsu?

  • by bus : From Usuki station, take a bus to Usuki Sekibutsu (臼杵 石 仏). Takes about 20 minutes and 310 yens. The bus doesn’t operate frequently (every hour, sometimes sometimes every two hours)
  • by taxi: Take a taxi which costs you about 2000 yen from Usuki station or 1500 yen Kami-Usuki station.
  • by car : There is a parking lot at this place.

    
Name Usuki Daibutsu
Category Daibutsu Statue
Address 804-1 Fukata, Usuki, Oita 875-0064 
Access
804-1 Fukata, Usuki, Oita 875-0064 
Opening Hours 6:00 - 19:00 (by 18:00 in the winter) 
Price Range 540 yen
Payment options Cash

Original article by : Estelle

Translated by: Aika Ikeda