Ibaraki’s really big Buddha

The far more famous Kamakura Daibutsu (big Buddha) may well have more history, character and aesthetic merit, but when it comes to sheer and surely insurmountable size, the Ushiku Daibutsu in Ibaraki Prefecture is patently unparalleled.

As, not only is it big.

Ushiku Daibutsu (big Buddha)

It’s absolutely bloody enormous.

Ushiku Daibutsu (big Buddha)

An almost unbelievable 120 metres including its base big in fact.

Ushiku Daibutsu (big Buddha)

A behemoth that was built during the heady days of the bubble, meaning its like will probably never be seen again — or at least not in the near future. Which, in many ways is a pity, as the way it towers over nearby fields,

Ushiku Daibutsu (big Buddha)


Ushiku Daibutsu (big Buddha)

and little old ladies who once worked in those fields and farms,

Ushiku Daibutsu (big Buddha)

is utterly fascinating.

(As an added bonus of sorts, here are a couple of pictures of the colossus while under construction. This one showing the the structure’s gradual completion, and my personal favourite, an almost Dali-esque piecing together of its head.)


  1. says


    Really wanted a different shot than the usual ones, so we drove around to try and find some different angles/views, and luckily the old lady came walking up the path, gifting me an interesting picture.

    No filter Andy, it was just a really beautiful day. Especially lucky considering the subject matter. Definitely wouldn’t have been the same with a grey or cloudy background.

  2. Daniel J Hamlow says

    Yes, I went to Ushiku three years ago. The Buddha’s an impressive sight. By the way, this day make an appearance in the movie Shimotsuma Monogatari starring Fukada Kyoko and Anna Tsuchiya.

    It’s only a 25 minute bus ride from JR Ushiku Station to Ushiku Jouen. And you won’t be able to miss it!

  3. Tony says

    great photos i love the site. its the closest i can get to japan without spending a hefty price on airfare. looking forward to your next entry.

    • says

      Thanks fritz. By car it’s easy as there’s an expressway exit fairly nearby, and then it’s (reasonably) well signposted. And by public transport, there’s a link here with details.

  4. says

    That’s pretty cool. I have not visited the statue but I have seen it driving by on my way from Narita to Tochigi, similar to your picture of the statue behind the tree covered hill.

  5. Joshua says

    hey lee,

    i’ve been reading your blog for a while now and i’ve always loved the shots you take!

    I do a bit of photography myself and was just wondering what lens did you use to take the last picture in this post?

    thanks and keep up the good work!

    • says

      The last one was taken with the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 Joshua. An absolute cracker of a lens. Pricey, but worth every last penny.

    • says

      Yeah, they are a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. Well, at least most of the time!

      Have to admit they are all AF. I don’t think I’m skillful enough to start dabbling with MF…

  6. kim says

    oh i was using Olympus E-420 but my friend told me Nikkon a bit late with technology like dust reduction system…just hold this about 2 months for photography lesson in my college, haha, XDD

    n with AF, I think I can’t always focuses at thing that I want to, hehe, XDD

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