Written by Shirley T
Saturday, 30 October 2010 00:00
More popularly known as Chedi or Stupa, this structure is an architecture of Buddhist's influence. For one that strolls in Ueno Park, you can hardly miss a prominent pagoda or chedi on top of a small hill nestled within the western bound, in-between Shinobazu Pond and Kiyomizu Kannon-do.
Known as Daibutsu yama or 'Great Buddha Hill', this small hill is the same ground as Kanei-ji Temple during Edo period. At present, it houses Ueno Great Buddha. The history of Great Buddha started in 1631 when it was built by a feudal lord Hori Naoyari, whom governed the area around Murakami in Niigata Prefecture. Alas, the seated Buddha statue measured 2.8 meters in height but it was destroyed by earthquake in 1647.
Second Buddha was later initiated by a monk named Jyoun. Built from the donation collected from Edo citizens, it was reconstructed in the same sitting posture of 3.6 meters tall. However, Great Kanto Earthquake that happened in 1923 had damaged the statue. The face of Daibutsu fell off but managed to be preserved. The body and pedestal were somehow seized by government under Metal Acquisition Law to produce weapons during World War II.
Several years later (1967), a monument was built on top of the hill and the remain of Buddha face was enshrined. In 1972, Ueno Tourist Association built a pagoda and three Buddha images including Yakushi Nyorai, Gakko Bosatsu and Nikko Bosatsu.
Less than 5 minutes walk from Ueno Koen exit at Ueno Station (via JR Yamanote Line, Ginza Line or Hibiya Line) or right next to Ueno Kensei Station.
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