This weekend I visited the statue of the “Goddess of mercy of the white robe” at Ofuna-Kannon-ji in the Kamakura District. Ofuna is a great spot, it is super close to Kamakura beach and not too far on the train from Shinjuku in the centre of Tokyo. The town isn’t much of a tourist spot, but the area consists of beautiful large gardens and plots of land for local homeowners to grow their own fruit and vegetables. So if you’re interested in a snapshot of local Japanese life outside of Tokyo, this is great stop.
The town is overlooked by a large beautiful statue. You can see it towering over offices and hairdressers as soon as you leave the station.
The building of the statue of the “Goddess of mercy of the white robe” began in 1929 and it was originally praying for permanent world peace. Ironically, the building was halted due to the outbreak of war in the Pacific Ocean, which devastated the area. Construction began again in 1954 and the “Goddess of mercy of the white robe” was finished in 1960. The statue contains stones carried from ground zero of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which commemorates those who died as a result of the atomic bomb attacks.
The statue represents a prayer for World Peace, for both Japanese and foreign citizens. The Yume-Kannon festival is held every September, for foreign citizens to showcase stalls from their native land. This festival is the embodiment of togetherness. Different cultures meeting together, watched over by a prayer for World Peace.
An incredible, but often overlooked, spot to visit. The climb to the statue may be gruelling, but the peace and serenity found at the top certainly makes it worth it.
Thank you so much for reading! Please comment with any other interesting spots to visit in Japan!