“Kumano-Magaibutsu”, in Bungo-Takada City,Oita Prefecture, boasts itself to be Japan’s largest scale Buddhist figures carved in a natural rock face.
“Kumano-Magaibutsu” can be found in Kunisaki Peninsula, where a unique Buddhist culture prospered, incorporating Shintoism of nearby Usa Shrine, from the Nara period to Heian Period. Climbing up the steep stone steps, as shown in the second picture, for about 15 minutes leads to these old Buddhist figures, “Fudo-myo-o”, 8 meters high on the left and “Dainichi-nyorai”, 6 meters high on the right.
These figures can be seen in the first picture.
Both of them were designated as important cultural assets and likely to be created in the 12th century.
The starting point of the performance of a traditional religious event “mine-iri”, which is a unique Mountain religion’s event typical of this area, is right in front of this “Fudo-myo-o”.
Although a “Magaibutsu’ is a Buddhist image, a “torii-gate”, a symbol of “Shintoism”, stands at the mouth of the steep steps, which means these religious compounds are a mixture of Buddhism and Shintoism.
By Masahisa Takaki.
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