Usually Sendai Motions introduces new places to visit. We say “Go there and find something that you have never seen or experienced before!” This time will be different. We are going to write about an object that is familiar to anyone who has visited Sendai at least once. One of the first things that we hear from newcomers or guests - “what is that huge white figure there?” Yes, we are going to write about Sendai Daikannon.
So, what is this huge white figure? In fact, it is a buddhist boddhisattva of mercy, Kannon, very popular in Japan and especially in Sendai. From the 18th century onward, Sendai was, and still is, well-known for its’ Thirty-three Kannon pilgrimage course. The course still can be walked today (we will definitely write about it later on Sendai Motions), and the existence of such pilgrimage has probably influenced the construction of Sendai Daikannon.
100-meters tall, this statue depicts Kannon in one of her most familiar forms - as a beautiful woman, holding a jewel of wisdom in her right hand and a jar filled with water of wisdom in her left hand. Of course, being the biggest Kannon statue in the whole world, the statue strikes everyone who first sees it with its’ size in the first place, but that’s not all. Actually, the statue is a building.
You can walk inside, go up to the 12th floor and look down to see a breath-taking scenery of Izumi-ku.
And you can have a small yet memorable pilgrimage course inside the statue.
On the first floor, there are thirty-free human size statues of Kannon. All different in style, they represent the many ways in which Kannon can appear to help people.
You can see the twelve protectors of Buddhism as well, and, intricately, you can find your own protector among them, because they simbolize the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac.
And when you go up to the last floor, walk down the stairs to see the 108 Buddhist statues of different buddhas, boddhisattvas and ni-o (kings of wisdom). People leave their offerings, usually small coins, so, by counting the coins every statue receives, you can find out the favourites.
In the garden, there is a small shrine of Daikoku-ten, who grants anyone’s wishes, if some oil is poured on it. The statue is famous for love prayers as well.
The statue that we all see everyday and that seems so familiar, proves one more time that although appearance can be very important, still the most treasurous and amazing things are hidden inside.
Address: 31-36, Nakayama-minami, Sanezawa, Izumi-ku, Sendai.
Working hours: 5/1～10/31 (summer time) - 10:00-16:00, 11/1～4/30 (winter time) - 10:00-15:30
Entrance fee: 500 yen