Introducing Statue of the Eleven-Faced Kannon | Stunning Scenery of Japan | Japan Highlights Travel, for sightseeing around Tokaido

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    2. Gifu-Hashima Station
    3. [Statue of the Eleven-Faced Kannon]

A smiling Enku-butsu that envelops people in motherly love

People are drawn to this kannon statue with its peaceful smile full of affection the instant they see it. The statue was carved by an ascetic monk called Enku, who was said to have been born in Hashima City in the Edo period. He carved some 120,000 Buddhist statues during his lifetime, while traveling all around Japan. The statues are dynamically carved using a hatchet, and you get a feeling of warmth and strength from his work. This kannon statue was made when Enku was about 40 years old. His mother passed away when he was very young, and he enshrined a mirror he kept as a memento of her inside the statue's body. The story goes that he made the statue to commemorate the 33rd year of her death. The soft, kind expression may be a reflection of Enku's love for his mother.

※ Views like the one shown in the photo can only be seen under certain conditions (time of day, weather etc.).

  • Viewing period:
  • All year round
  • Challenge level:
  • ★☆☆
  • Feeling:
  • Healing

Travel advice

The statue of the eleven-faced kannon is the principal object in the Naka Kannon-do Hall. The Hall is home to 16 other Enku statues, making it the largest collection in Hashima City. The sight of them all lined up is really something. In the adjoining Hashima Enku Museum, you can see Enku-butsu reproductions collected from all around the country, arranged by period. Admission fee 300 yen, closed on Monday.

The pleasure of travel: Statue of the Eleven-Faced Kannon

Hashima City, birthplace of Enku. How about starting your trip from the huge Enku monument in front of Gifu-Hashima Station? To get to Naka Kannon-do Hall, take the Meitetsu Hashima Line / Takehana Line, alight at Hashima Shiyakusho Mae Station and then hop on the community bus. The area around the town hall is a great place to enjoy a stroll, with sightseeing highlights like the Sakichi Daibutsu and a brewery that makes a brand sake using water drawn from the Nagara River. Also, you can pay a visit to another Enku-butsu at Yakushiji Temple, which is about 12 minutes' walk from Naka Kannon-do Hall. There is a restaurant called "Chikusen" in the neighborhood where they serve local dishes made with lotus root, a Hashima specialty.

Information on Enku-butsu


updated on Jan 8, 2016