10 Great Buddha Statues in Japan You Have To Witness!

10 Great Buddha Statues in Japan You Have To Witness!

Jun 06, 2024Jon Ng

Wanna check out the magnificent buddha statues in Japan? Here are the great Buddha statues in Japan. 

Japan is more than just a place to appreciate nature or traditional culture. Japan is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage destination accompanied by incredible temples and breathtaking surroundings. These Buddha statues have religious, cultural, and local significance.

A journey to Japan isn't complete unless you visit at least one temple, known as. Daibutsu, or "Butsuzo," is a hallmark of stately Buddhist temples. 

There are around 75,000 temples in Japan, so you can witness a range of Buddha sculptures ranging in size from little to giant.

If you visit Japan, you must see these famous Buddha statues. They are well worth seeing.

These sculptures are a great way to learn more about Japanese religion, history, and art.

These massive, enormous statues seem like they are telling something about their existence, talking to us. Here is a list of self-experienced Buddha statues in prominent temples and gardens throughout Japan dating back to Japanese history.

Great Buddha Statues In Japan

Nihonji Daibutsu

The Great Buddha of Nihon-ji temple is a renowned and impressive structure located in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan, and is regarded as a national treasure.

Upon first glimpsing the statue, many are awestruck by its grandeur and astounding size, and the sense of awe is only magnified as one ascends the Nihon-ji Temple’s 300-step stairway, winding towards the illuminated surface of the Great Buddha at the top.

The structure stands 33.4 meters tall and has its roots in the mid-15th century, when the great monk Nanbuzan-sohitsu first ordered its construction. This creation was first met with suspicion, as the people of Niigata perceived the Great Buddha of Nihon-ji as an imposing figure. 

Despite these initial apprehensions, the mammoth construct quickly developed its status as a revered symbol of faith, and today is a celebrated reflection of the surpassing magnificence of Buddhism.

Furthering the temple’s impression of being a powerful domain of Buddhist spirituality are the innumerable details that adorn the figure’s surface. 

The exterior boasts a unique array of majestic repeating patterns, each intricate line and color representing an abiding concept of spiritual power. 


The figure is illustrated with an impressive array of Buddhist images, a vivid display of divine influence. 

At its feet lies a small spring of holy water, always vigorously covered by a milling crowd of visitors. After partaking of the watery blessing, many visitors find the courage to ascend to the Great Buddha's peak, where one can look across the Niigata-ken prefecture's sprawling landscape unexampled in its incomparable splendor. 

This sight of uninhibited beauty invokes an overwhelming sense of profound veneration in many who dare to take in its beauty. 

The Great Buddha of Nihon-ji is an incredible symbol of the abundance of Buddhism in Japan, as much as it stands for the daunting endeavor of embarking on a spiritual journey. 

Many visitors of the temple accentuate the powerful emotion of awe they experience while taking in its magnitude, as they are embraced by a sense of peace and tranquility, yet also reminded of the importance of pursuing spiritual objectivity in their lives.

Address: Motona, Kyonan, Awa District, Chiba 299-1901, Japan

Tokyo Daibutsu (Jorenji Temple)

At the heart of Japan’s impressive collection of Buddha statues is Tokyo Daibutsu, an awe-inspiring depiction of the Enlightened One located at Jorenji Temple in Tokyo.

Among all of Japan’s famous Buddhist sculptures, it is considered the most venerated and sacred. 

Tokyo Daibutsu stands tall, reaching a staggering 11.31m and is made from bronze, giving a distinguished glow when seen against the morning sun. Its facial features are serene, captivating and grand, with the eyes looking out into the depths of the human heart.

People and pilgrims come from near and far to marvel at this majestic figure. As they stand in the presence of Tokyo Daibutsu, some will offer prayers, some standing in contemplation and others placing their hands together in reverence. 

This is part of the area's charm, captivating every part of the landscape and stirring the spirit of those that observe in awe.

The construction of Tokyo Daibutsu began in the 13th century and is symbolized as one of the major achievements of Buddhism in Japan. 

It is both a symbol of prayer and of national pride, and stands respectfully in its place as a part of Jorenji Temple.

Makes a pilgrimage to Tokyo Daibutsu are allowed on special occasions and at certain times. 

However, a visit here anytime is appreciated, even if it’s just for a few moments of silent reflection. Spending even the shortest amount of time in the presence of Tokyo Daibutsu is a very special experience and can leave visitors feeling overwhelmed and in awe. 

The spiritual energy of Tokyo Daibutsu can be found in the air, providing an atmosphere of reverence, awe, tranquility and immense respect. More than anything, this majestic figure is a powerful reminder of Japan’s strong Buddhist culture and its beloved heritage of great Buddha statues. 

When visiting Tokyo, be sure to pay your respects to this sacred figure and allow the beauty of Tokyo Daibutsu to captivate and inspire.

Address: 5 Chome-28-3 Akatsuka, Itabashi City, Tokyo 175-0092, Japan

Showa Daibutsu

The Showa Daibutsu is an incredible sight to behold and a place of great spiritual significance to many Buddhist devotees. Situated in Aomori at the Seiryū-ji (Blue-Green Dragon) Temple, Japan, this immense Great Buddha statue stands at an impressive 21.4 meters and was constructed in 1984, during Japan’s Showa period.


This Buddha statue has some unique features and characteristics that make it stand out from the others. The gigantic body of the Showa Daibutsu is made of cast bronze and weighs over a hundred tons. 

japanese buddha statues

Its imposing stature gives the feeling that this statue has been here since ancient times, yet the details of its construction and craftsmanship are positively modern.

Showa Daibutsu japanese buddha

The eyes of the Showa Daibutsu are carved out and contain a shell of copper. Then, a thin layer of gold is applied over them, making this statue look even more inviting and awe-inspiring. 

Its face also features a very unique expression of serenity and kindness, which is only emphasized by its slightly curved lips and almond-shaped eyes.

Finally, the robe of the Showa Daibutsu is made of more than one hundred thousand pieces of metal, which together create a dazzlingly intricate design. 

The theory behind the array of metal pieces is to adorn the statue in such a way that it stands as one of the most immediately distinguishable and recognizable images around.

The importance of this Great Buddha statue is just as noteworthy as its physical beauty. Those who visit the Showa Daibutsu may use the impressive presence of the statue to meditate and even make offerings. 

Those who get close enough can make out the multitude of small prayers written on the robe and even similar inscriptions on one of its feet. For these reasons and more, the Showa Daibutsu remains one of the most incredible sights in Japan and a true testament to the Buddhist spiritual practices of the country.

Address: Japan, 〒030-0935 Aomori, Kuwabara, Yamazaki−45

Kamakura Buddha Statue 

Kotokuin Temple's Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu) is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha. In Japan, it ranks second tallest bronze Buddha statue behind the one in Nara's Todaiji Temple, standing 13.35 meters tall.

Showa Daibutsu

It is one of the "Three Greatest  Daibutsus" of Japan. This  National Treasure statue is known to be one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

The statue was made around 1252 and was originally housed in a large temple hall. 

It's a power of divinity that several typhoons and a tidal surge can destroy temple buildings. So, since 1495, the Buddha has been standing in the open air.

This allows people to see it from a variety of perspectives. The Daibutsu is so magnificent that many visitors come to Kotoku-in merely to see it.

Address: 4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

Ushiku Daibutsu

Ushiku Daibutsu is the world's largest standing Buddha statue. In 1993, the statue was completed and it holds the record for being the tallest statue up until 2008. As of 2018, it is among the world's five tallest statues.


Ushiku Daibutsu contains up to 3,300 golden buddha sculptures. People can buy a statue to serve as a grave and pray to it every morning and evening.

It was spellbinding to see the spring season in Ushiku Daibutsu Buddha in April.

It is surrounded by a splendid garden filled with seasonal flowers, cherry blossoms, and poppies.

It's worth strolling through the garden. It's stunning!

Address: 2083 Kunocho, Ushiku, Ibaraki 300-1288, Japan

Gifu Daibutsu

Gifu Daibutsu is one of Japan's three major Buddha portrait statues. The Statue stands 13.7 meters tall (44.9 feet) in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, and is home to a big Buddhist statue.

It was conceived in 1790 by the 11th head priest of Kinpouzan Shh vihara, Ichyuu, to avert severe earthquakes and calamities.

It was constructed using a technique that used ginkgo tree wood as a base, followed by a framework composed of bamboo and clay. For this painting, Buddhist scriptures were mixed into clay to create a paper-mache effect.


While this Buddha isn't as enormous as some of the others in Japan, the fact that it was built on a paper mache base set it apart. Paper Buddha!

And It was a good break because it was not as packed as the others.

This fantastic opportunity to view the entire collection of clay monks that participated in this effort is fascinating.

It brings me joy to see antique techniques and sculptures in the present period.

Address: Japan, 〒500-8018 Gifu, Daibutsucho, 8 正法寺

Hill Of Buddha

The Hill of Buddha is a must-see attraction in Japan. The Hill of the Buddha is a Buddhist temple created by Japanese modernist architect Tadao Ando at the Makomanai Takino Cemetery in Sapporo, Japan.


The temple contains a 13.5 m (44 ft) tall statue of the Buddha surrounded by an artificial hill rotunda filled with 150,000 lavender plants.

The ambiance of this place is so peaceful and beautiful that one can let go of all their worries. It was an unforgettable experience for me.

Summer is the prime time to visit the site if you want to see the unique landscape created by the contrast between purple lavenders and the impressive statue. 


The entire statue can be seen through a sacred gateway at the bottom of the statue!

Address: 2 Takino, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 005-0862, Japan

Nara Daibutsu 

Nara Daibusui is a Japanese temple complex in Nara. The temple was established in 738 CE and officially inaugurated in 752 CE while Nara was the capital, and served as the headquarters of the Buddhist Kegon sect.

The temple has the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha, an enormous 500-ton sculpture known in Japan as the Nara Daibutsu.

Nara Daibusu is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with hundreds of unique antiques. This is the most spectacular temple I've ever seen.


This is the largest wooden structure in the world. It's immense; I can't even begin to express how large it is.

The Buddha inside was equally lovely to behold. The vast gardens, museums, and treasure chambers utterly awed me. Everything was worth visiting.

Address: 406-1 Zoshicho, Nara, 630-8587, Japan

Takaoka Daibutsu

Takaoka Daibutsu is a beautiful bronze statue. The bronze statue, which stood 15.85m tall and weighed 65 tonnes, is currently renowned as one of Japan's three "Great Buddhas.".

After being damaged by two separate fires, copper was chosen as the material for the new statue due to Takaoka's long history in the copper industry, and the statue was handcrafted by local craftsmen.

It is a one-of-a-kind sculpture that highlights the bronze casting methods employed in Takaoka (which is well-known for its metalworking techniques, particularly its bronze ware), and it has become a symbol of the city.

In the vicinity of the statue are no spectacular gardens or elaborate temples. Still, you can enter to see the wooden head of the previous figure, which somehow survived the fire.

I found this place serene to relax our minds. During our visit, there were few visitors, and the space was not as large as that of other Buddhas.

Address: 11-22 Otemachi, Takaoka, Toyama 933-0039, Japan

Fukuoka Buddha

This is the Reclining Buddha at Nanzoin Temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture.

This reclining Buddha is 41m long, 11m tall, and weighs 300 tonnes, making it the world's largest bronze "nehan-butsu" (Nirvana Buddha). It is the same size (when extended out) as the American Statue of Liberty in New York City. It is thought to be the longest Buddha statue in the world.

Fukuoka Buddha

It portrays the death of Buddha as he reclines and enters Nirvana. By tying strings to Buddha's hand, visitors can "shake hands" with him. Many people pray while holding these cords, expecting to obtain the power of Buddha.

"Nehan-zo" is a statue of the Buddha lying on his side, representing the Buddha after he has completed all of his teachings and is on his journey to Nirvana.

The Buddha's closed eyelids indicate that he has attained Nirvana.

The most well-known of the "Sasaguri 88" pilgrimage sites is the Reclining Buddha (where you visit all the 88 temples and Buddhist institutions in Sasaguri).


I was startled to discover that different buddha poses have different meanings. This was a spiritual experience for me. I'd never heard of this.

Every year, 1.2 million visitors from all over the world visit Nanzoin to witness the Reclining Buddha.

Address: 1035 Sasaguri, Kasuya District, Fukuoka 811-2405, Japan

Where is the biggest Buddha statue in Japan?

Japan is home to some of the biggest Buddha statues in the world - one of the most impressive being the Great Ushiku Daibutsu in Ushiku City. Standing tall at an incredible 120 meters, the Ushiku Daibutsu is remarkable in its sheer size, proving that it is quite worthy of its title "Great". 


Located in the picturesque Ushiku City, the gigantic Buddha statue looms over the pond, contrasting with the peaceful and tranquil surroundings.

Built by the Buddhist Fumonji Temple in 1993, the Ushiku Daibutsu is made from bronze and has a beautiful golden shine. It stands on a three-tier platform, measuring 10 meters tall and surrounded by a fence. 

It also features a large bell-shaped infrastructure, which was added in 2005 for visitors to ring. Most impressively, visitors can take an elevator ride all the way up to the Great Buddha’s head – providing visitors with an unforgettable view of the area.

The Ushiku Daibutsu is said to be one of the five holiest sites in all of Japan. This is remarkable not just due to its awe-inspiring size, but also because it was built as a tribute to the birth of Amida Buddha. 

The bronze statue, which is said to watch over and protect Ushiku City and its citizens, is a sight to behold.

The Great Ushiku Daibutsu is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara and registered as a World Heritage Site. As the biggest outdoor bronze Buddha statue in the world, the Ushiku Daibutsu is no doubt an attraction that definitely should be added to any traveler’s must-visit list. 

Finished off with gorgeous colorful decorations during festivals and sacred ceremonies, it is something that you absolutely should not miss if you have the chance to visit Ushiku City.

What are the three great Buddhas of Japan?

The three great Buddhas of Japan are: Shoho-ji Daibutsu, Kamakura Daibutsu, and Todo-ji Daibutsu. 

The first of these is Shoho-ji Daibutsu, located in the city of Iwata, in the Shizuoka prefecture of Japan. 

Carved from granite in the 17th century, this impressive figure stands at 10.6 meters tall and is the largest image of Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light. 

The statue is made up of 36 distinct pieces, and the intricately carved folds of Shoho-ji Daibutsu’s robe are a sight to behold.

The second great Buddha of Japan is the Kamakura Daibutsu in the city of Kamakura. This 13th-century bronze statue is considered to be the Great Buddha of Japan, and stands an impressive 11 meters tall. 

While the statue itself is considerably smaller than the Shoho-ji Daibutsu, what makes the Kamakura Daibutsu so remarkable is its history and untouched state. 

The statue was abandoned after Tokyo’s great earthquake of 1855, only to be rediscovered by a priest in the early 19th century, earning it the nickname “the Sleeping Daibutsu”.

The last of the great Buddhas of Japan is the Todai-ji Daibutsu in Nara. This 15-meter tall statue is made from bronze and is located in the world’s largest wooden building, the Todai-ji temple. 

The statue is said to have been cast in the year 771 and is a representation of the cosmic Vairocana Buddha. Even though the statue has been partially destroyed over the years, its sheer size is enough to leave anyone in awe when standing before it.

The three great Buddhas of Japan represent some of the most impressive and important pieces of Buddhist art in the world. 

Unlike many other statues and sculptures, these statues have not only withstood the test of time, but also serve as a timeless reminder of the power of faith and hope in the face of life’s difficulties. 

For the visitors and pilgrims who come to see them, these Buddhas will continue to inspire and guide those who seek their wisdom and guidance.


A place with multiple tourist attractions, breathtaking views, and spiritual experiences on one site can only be Japan.

Learning, experiencing new things, and exploring new places are all one-stop shopping experiences.

It was a pleasant experience for me, and if you visit Japan, don't miss the Buddha statues as they are worth seeing.

More articles