- Nishioshi Buddha / Jofuku Temple
Nishio-City Nishioshi Buddha / Jofuku Temple
The Great Buddha Dedicated To Those Lost At Sea
For over 1,000 years the Jofuku-ji Temple stood on the shoreline of modern-day Nishio City, overlooking the wide waters of Mikawa Bay. Established in the 10th century by the noble warrior Minamoto no Mitsukuni, a descendant of the Emperor Seiwa, as a place of prayer for his mother, recent land reclamation projects have left it inland and some distance from the waters, however the temple still retains its links to the sea.
In the grounds of the ancient temple, rebuilt about 200 years ago, and facing south towards Mikawa Bay, is the 14 meter high Great Buddha of Nishio. The statue is dedicated to placating the souls of those lost at sea. Constructed in the 1920’s in the grounds of the Jofuku-ji, the figure displays some rather unusual Buddhist hand gestures, while the halo-like rays emanating from behind the Buddha’s back are also considered rare.
The calm face of the red ochre colored Buddha, seemingly deep in thought or prayer remains a popular figure among the locals. At the base of the giant Buddha, under a long, narrow roof, are around 20 stone carved Buddhist images, backing onto the hundreds of stone Buddhist gravestones surrounding the temple.
There are many other attractions in peaceful Nishio City, one of the greatest producers of green tea, including a castle and strong connections to the 47 Ronin Story. Find them on your trip to visit the Great Buddha of Nishio.