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Nobeoka and the Tallest Kobo Daishi Statue in Japan

Posted By on Sep 11, 2014


Nobeoka City in Miyazaki Prefecture.
 During World War II Nobeoka was one of the most important centers of military explosives in Japan. 1945, over one-third of the city was destroyed by fire-bombings, so many of the buildings have been built in more recent years.


One of the most visited remaining structures is Imayama Hachimangu (今山八幡宮), which is a small shrine on a hill. While most visitors are local Japanese, you’ll find this a great place to wander around without being overrun by tourists and commotion. While we were there the shrine was empty for almost the whole time.

The most famous attraction here is the Imayama Daishi (今山大師, great master of Imayama) Statue which is still part of Imayama Shrine. It’s the statue of the great master Kobo Daishi Kukai, who is quite famous throughout Japan and worshipped by many. Kobo Daishi was a Buddhist monk who traveled and spread Buddhist teachings throughout Japan.


To go inside to access the statue, is unfortunately not free, but it’s worth paying to see. When you step inside you’ll need to remove your shoes and walk over these little sacks placed on the floor.

From there you can finally see the statue towering over you.



With a height of 17m and a weight of 11 tons, this is the largest statue of Kobo Daishi in Japan and it is quite impressive once you get up close to it. Many believe that if you touch the feet of the statue, you’ll be blessed with good fortune, so of course, it’s a must!


There are many other smaller statues around the area,which are statues of the Seven Lucky Gods (七福神; Shichi Fukujin). It was all quite interesting.

Because this is on top of a hill, the view is really great as it looks out over Nobeoka. It may not be something most person would find spectacular, but it was still an enjoyable view none the less.

Walking through the forest, the pathway is lined with stone lanterns on both sides. This was a really nice touch and created a nice, old-timey atmosphere.

 1-3875 Yamashita-machi, Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture 882-0055

[post by Beth]

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Beth Williams

Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back upon graduating and is currently teaching English full-time in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is currently on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel on her blog Besudesu Abroad.

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