Category Archives: temples and shrines

Ushiku: Great Buddha and Fireworks

Ushiku Great Buddha
Talking about Japanese towns with great Buddha statues, one would likely mention Nara or Kamakura. But the Ushiku Daibutsu dwarves them all: At a height of 110 meter it is one of the tallest statues in the world. Every year on August 15, there is a light-up and fireworks festival and this year I decided to skip one traditional fireworks festival in favor of the Buddha plus fireworks combination.

Arriving at the station, there was nothing indicating that there is a festival in Ushiku. The Buddha is also not visible from the train station or anywhere in Ushiku. Bus service was scarce, so I took a taxi to the Great Buddha (about 3300 Yen). It is quite a distance from the station to the Buddha.


Ushiku Daibutsu has probably more parking spots than some shopping malls and they expect their visitors to stay a while. You’ll pass various shops on the way to the Buddha. Usually there is an entrance free but on the festival day there was none from 5pm. However, I couldn’t enter the statue which contains a museum and an observation floor.

The statue was built in 1993 and depicts the Amitabha Buddha, it was built to commemorate the birth of the founder of the “True Pure Land School” of Buddhism. Read the rest of this entry


Jogyesa Temple Flowers

Jogyesa Temple  Seoul  09
After visiting Mokin Museum, I went to the Jogyesa Temple on the other side of the street. Surprisingly they had some flower festival there and I arrived on the very last day!

Jogyesa Temple isn’t the most beautiful temple in Seoul but being based in Insadong it is in a more Buddhist environment. During Buddha’s Birthday/Lotus Lantern Festival, the temple is quite a sight.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the reason for this flower festival. Read the rest of this entry

[Korea] Temples in Busan: Samgwang Temple (Samgwangsa)

Samgwangsa (Sam Kwang-sa, Korean writing: 삼광사) in Busan is overshadowed by the two other big temples, Beomeosa (범어사) and Yonggungsa (해동용궁사) Both are inarguably more picturesque: Beomosa because it’s in the mountains and an excellent starting point for a hike, Yonggungsa because it’s next to the sea.

Samkwangsa is next to the typical sprawl of anonymous apartment complexes on the slope of mount Baekyang. It is probably the most central of the three temples if you start from Seomyeon. That is, if you can find the right bus. I couldn’t, at least not using the description from the tourist page. If the people who wrote that page would’ve spent five minutes more time on the descriptions, they would’ve helped thousands of tourists.

Samgwangsa 3

The best connection to the temple is by taking bus line number 15 which stops right in front of it. Bus lines 63 and 81 stop near the temple but there are no signs pointing to the temple from the bus stop. Read the rest of this entry

Senso-ji at Night (Asakusa Kannon Temple)

I recommend coming to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa at least twice: in the afternoon and in the evening. Due to the merchant street it is probably the busiest temple in Tokyo. At night you can take a relaxed stroll over the temple area and admire the illuminated buildings of the temple.

The temple is an open area, so there is no closing date. I could see a few tourists as well some locals there. Some preferred to pray in the evening since Senso-ji is not actually a very quiet place in the morning. Read the rest of this entry