If you make your way to Fukuoka then one place to tick off your bucket list is Nanzoin Temple (南蔵院) in Sasaguri. “Nehanzou” more commonly known as Buddha, are usually found in three poses, standing, sitting and reclining, and it is here you can see the worlds largest bronze Buddha in the least common pose. 11 metres tall, 41 metres long and weighing over 300 tonnes (that’s more than a jumbo jet!) the giant bronze beauty reclines across the top of the mountain, representing Buddha entering nirvana (death). View the gallery, link above!
This place is one of Japan’s 3 major prayer spots on the Shikoku pilgrimage, so when you visit ensure you make time for reflection. A famous Buddha quote perfectly states, “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”.
The best way to get the most out of your visit is to grab hold of the 5 coloured strings the Buddha is holding and say a prayer – this signifies shaking hands with the Buddha. Then make your way around to the Buddha’s feet called “bussoku” where you direct your main prayers. Touch his golden soles for further luck and good fortune.
It’s not just the statue that is worth the visit. Nanzoin is also home to an Inari shrine, plentiful statues and other Buddha’s as well as Shichifukujin tunnel a.k.a Seven Gods of Fortune Tunnel. The Sasaguri area also features other temples and shrines over the hillside.
How to get there:
Take a train from Hakata station in Fukuoka city to Kido Nanzoin Mae Station on the JR Sasaguri Line. Nanzoin temple is only a short walk away from the station.
When to go:
Open year round from 9am-5pm the temple grounds are free, but expect to pay a fee of 500 yen to enter the prayer room inside the giant Buddha statue.
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