Tokyobling's Blog

Ofuna Kannon Temple – 大船観音寺

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on May 26, 2012

If you have ever traveled on one of the many JR Trains heading south west from Tokyo to Kamakura or beyond, you’re most likely to have seen or at least passed while unaware of it, the huge Ofuna Kannon Temple statue on the hill to the right just as you pass Ofuna station. I have been on that train hundreds of times and every time I passed Ofuna I always thought that someday I should get off and investigate that huge white statue up there. Technically Ofuna is part of Kamakura City, but due to the geography of the area Ofuna is almost completely cut of from Kamakura in the south, even though I have walked between the the two stations in about 45 minutes a couple of times. The Ofuna Kannon Temple is quite young, being founded in 1929 and only completed 1960 with the finish of the handmade 1900 ton heavy statue of the Bodhisattva Kannon. The temple is dedicated to peace and has a number of relics from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including some building stones and a flame taken from the fires that raged after the bombing and kept lit since then (you can barely see it in of one of the photos). The kannon statue itself is hollow and there’s a small prayer room inside with hundreds of miniature hand carved buddha statues with toothpicks for staffs in their hands. There’s also quite a few memorials to the friendship between the Japanese and the countries of South East Asia, and a lot of Vietnamese and Burmese people visit this temple. I saw one ema votive plate written in Vietnamese. I wonder what it says?

I visited the Ofuna Kannon Temple in spring, so the photos look a bit bare, also scenery in the middle of the day is as far from my preferred subjects as it can possibly get, hence the poor quality. I wish I had had a color negative film camera for this!

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