Fukuoka Prefecture is a major tourist destination in Japan, drawing people form all over the country all year round. But what’s unusual about the prefecture is that, despite its great many visitors, it doesn’t have any particularly famous sightseeing spots. Most people come for the food alone—a fact which should give you an indication of how good it is.

That’s why our reporter, Takashi Harada went in search of something worth gawking at in the otherwise wonderful land of Fukuoka and came across something that every visitor ought to see: the “World’s Largest Buddha statue” nestled deep in its mountains.

The location of this gigantic Buddha was somewhat off the beaten track and Takashi was worried he might lose his bearings way out there. However, to which it belongs was right outside Kido-Nanzoin-Mae Station which was only a 30-minute ride from Hakata Station, Fukuoka’s transport hub.

It was pretty convenient and, sure enough, there were several other people for Japan and abroad here to see the massive Buddha.

Takashi was unexpectedly amazed by the sheer size of this Buddha. The statue was 41 meters (135) long, 11 meters (36) tall and weighed in at a cool 300 tonnes (331 crazy US tons); it would be about the same size as the Statue of Liberty if she had decided to suddenly lie down and take a load off.

To put it another way, it made that reclining Buddha (the position in which he achieved final nirvana) statue that Sagat always hung around in Street Fighter II look like a child’s discarded Tickle Me Elmo.

Of course there are an awful lot of Buddha statues around Asia, so a claim of “world’s largest” is pretty hard to swallow unless accompanied by an asterisk. This statue was no exception, claiming to be the largest copper statue in the world.

To honest, we’re not sure if even that is true, but that’s not really the point either; this temple grounds are not meant to be a theme park but a place of reflection and peace. Takashi was able to understand that not by any words but the palpable presence he felt from this depiction of Buddha.

He meditated on how they could have possibly built or moved this thing into such a location and felt himself inching just a little bit closer to enlightenment. He then moved on to the many other statues and altars in the temple precincts, taking a few snaps for our enjoyment.

Again, although this place draws about 1.3 million visitors a year, it is ultimately a place built not for amusement but reflection, so if you’re looking for thrills and laughs you may want to go elsewhere—we’re sure you could kill a few hours eating some of Fukuoka’s many, many delectable dishes.

Oh, and word has it that the head priest of this temple won big in the lottery. So if you come you might want to bring along a few scratch-and-win tickets, just in case.

1035 Oaza Sasaguri, Sasaguri-cho, Kasuya-gun, Fukuoka
Open 24-hours
Reception desk and store open 9:00am – 5:00pm
Website (Japanese)

Original report by Takashi Harada
Photos © RocketNews24

▼ The entire temple is actually quite large.

“Don’t get meow wet, please.”

The Buddha isn’t the only big statue around here.

But it certainly is the biggest.

There’s a walkway along the back which you have to pay to enter.

[ Read in Japanese ]