I live in Kumamoto and whenever I have to travel abroad I need to go to Fukuoka Airport. From highway a large statue is visible near Kurume and I always wanted to explore the place where the statue is present. Last yearend vacation with some friends I started for this place. We went by car and it took us around 1 hour from Kumamoto to Kurume. The temple is easy to locate by car navigator; however, other ways of access is possible. One can take bus number 30 or 31 from Nishitetsu Kurume or Hanabatake Stations to Kamitsu-machi.
The temple is situated on the top of a small hill. There is a long stairway to reach the temple; also one can take car to the top. However, we preferred stairs because of the beautiful pattern of decorations.
The temple is a very quiet place and very peaceful; it has decoration similarities to the temples of India. The red building is decorated with small statue and inside the temple there are some large paintings about Buddha’s life (brought here from Nepal).
Main attraction is the large white statue (the highway statue) known as Jibo Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) Statue. It is one of the tallest statues of the world (ranked in the first 20 tallest statues). The statue is 62 meters tall and the interesting thing about this statue is that it is surrounded by many small statues and one can climb stairs to the top for a good confined view, moreover, there is a museum at the bottom of the statue which has the animated Buddhist hell as well as piece of art from all over Asia.
I have travelled around Japan and it was a unique experience for me. Though it belong to a religious believe, anyone can go and experience the tranquility of that place. If you have time and are nearby Kurume, it’s worth to have a visit.