THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN THE KANSAI The Hyogo-ku DaiButsu
"Didn't know that. Where is it?"
This is the reaction of many Kansai people when they hear the
third largest Buddha in Japan is located in Hyogo-ku.
The starting point to see the Hyogo Daibutsu is the JR Sannomiya
station in Kobe. It is necessary to take a local or rapid service
train three stops west to the Hyogo station. Coming from the JR
station in Osaka take a rapid service train to Sannomiya and on
to Hyogo station. That is the get off place.
The "Hyogo Buddha" is identified on the tourist map
in the Hyogo JR station. It is a 10 minute walk from the JR station
to the Nofuku-ji compound where the bronze outdoor Buddha is located.
It is possible some kind person will walk you the 10 minutes from
the station to the temple where the Buddha sits and waits.
When in doubt and if reading a map is a problem, ask at the station,
"Daibutsu doko? Wheres the Big Buddha?
Although Nofuku-ji suffered extensive damage during the Great
Hanshin Earthquake and underwent drastic repairs, the Buddha was
not disturbed. The original bronze Daibutsu was put in place in
1891. Sadly it was melted down during WWII to make weapons. The
present statue was cast about 40 years ago. The bronze has developed
the smoky green patina that comes from exposure to the idiosyncrasies
of salt air, wind and weather. The statue weighs 60 tons, is 18
meters tall and sits on a 10 meter pedestal.
The more celebrated Kamakura Buddha and the Nara Buddha are only
centimeters taller. They are impressive but remote. The steps
leading up to the lotus flower where the Buddha sits makes the
"Hyogo Buddha" approachable.