Gifu Shoboji Daibutsu

Great Buddha

Kinpozan Shoboji is a temple affiliated with the Obakusan Manpukuji Temple in Uji City , Kyoto Prefecture . The 11th generation head priest of this temple, Priest Ichu, highly respected the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple in Nara and thus around 1790 decided to erect a large image of Shaka Nyorai(Great Buddha)in hopes that large earthquakes and famine would not occur thereafter.

The central pillar of this Great Buddha is 1.8-meters in circumference and was constructed with ginkgo tree wood. Its framework was built from various types of wood while the Great Buddha’s body was knitted together from many types of bamboo material. The surface of the Great Buddha was hardened with clay and covered with many great Buddhist scriptures.

As a final process, the surface was applied many times over in lacquer and plastered with golden leaves. Because priests and many others prayed for people’s happiness by using Buddhist sutra scriptures, placing the many scriptures onto the body of the Great Buddha was very important in its construction.

However, a significantly large amount of Buddhist scriptures were necessary to completely cover all of the Great Buddha. Since Priest Ichu had very few students, he traveled by himself to collect sutras asking for contributions all around Japan.

Even the most distant trip to Shin-etsu region(Nagano & Niigata Prefecture)was carried out on foot.

Although he spent 25 years working on the Great Buddha, he passed away in 1815 without seeing its completion.

With his predecessor in mind, Ichu’s successor, the 12th generation head Priest Koshu completed its erection 13 years later. Thirty-eight years had passed since his predecessor’s decision to construct the Great Buddha.

The noble messenger of the Owari feudal clan attended the completion ceremony of this Great Buddha. The turnout for the completion ceremony was as grand as when the famous 16th century ruler Oda Nobunaga gained control of Gifu and first moved into Gifu Castle.

<< Specifications >>

Height 13.63m (44.72 ft)
Length of face 3.63m (11.91 ft)
Width of eyes 0.66m (2.17 ft)
Length of ears 2.12m (6.96 ft)
Width of ears 1.31m (4.3 ft)
Height of nose 0.36m (1.81 ft)
There is also another image of Amida Nyorai in front of the Great Buddha’s body made of wood. It as well as the other images has been designated as Important Prefectural Cultural Assets.