I just found out that I did my tips backwards. Do you know why? Because you don't really go to the first floor first. How did that happen?
The guided tour goes to the fifth floor first and then you go down to the next level. We took the elevator going up all the way to the 5th floor which is the head of the Buddha.
Then we don't take the elevator going down. We are not allowed to take the elevator. The only exception is when you have disability! In this way, you are able to see all the exhibits from the 5th floor, 4th floor, 3rd floor, 2nd floor to the first floor.
The 1st Floor is called "The World of Infinite Light and Life". Over here, the first floor is totally dark. Then a light comes out coming from the top. Then your eyes are focused on the lights lighting the Golden Buddhas. The feeling is over-powering. The silence and the darkness - together makes you concentrate on your senses...
In the pamphlet given to us at the ticketing office of Ushiku Daibutsu, it says: "The deep and big heart of Amitabha Buddha always surrounds us. This floor is filled with reliefs of silence and mystery."
This was what I felt. The silence and the total darkness made me feel spiritual...
Take the stairs going down to the second floor of the Ushiku Daibutsu. You are no longer on the head of the Buddha but actually in the body of the Buddha. Taking the stairs is better because you see more of the exhibits. They have tons of pictures on the wall, lots of information to read and more displays of arts and crafts to buy. There is an array of tables filled with mementos from tiny buddha's, postcards, key chains, maneki-nikko figurines and others. There are also postcards to buy in each and every floor.
The second floor is about 10m high. If you are travelling with friends or family with disability, you can use the elevator. There is an usher to lead you there. They are very friendly and very helpful...
The second floor is actually called the "The World of Gratitude and Thankfulnees". This is the place where you copy the sutra with your heart for Amitabha Buddha. I don't really know what this means, unfortunately. I forgot to ask.
There are about 77 seats in the second floor. When we were there we were so quiet like a mouse because there were people praying. Remember to be mindful of people who are praying. Because of this, I didn't take pictures because I needed a flash on my camera and to use one might disturb the people praying...
The world of the Lotus Sanctuary represents the Pure Land. It is the golden world that surrounded the approximately 3, 300 images of Buddha.
In here, they accept offer to hold a memorial service for the dead. Talisman is also available for sale.
The local residents donated the golden buddhas inside the Ushiku Buddha. If you look closer at the buddhas, the names of the donors are etched on a plate including how much they have donated. The small buddhas cost $1,000.00 each and there are millions of them. The medium size Buddhas cost about $5,000.00.
The Ushiku Buddha garden is beautiful. There are different well manicured garden with bonsai, bamboos and other trees. My sister told me that in Spring time, the garden is filled with flowers. However, this time of year, which is November when I visited Ushiku, the flowers are gone. The bonsai are beautiful though.
Imagine how tall the Ushiku Buddha is. It is taller than the Empire State building. Then, imagine, how big his toe is!
One of the toes of Buddha is inside the building on display so people can see how it was made and built.
As we walked past the pictures of how the Ushiku Buddha was made, there is a place where you can write down your wish. Then you hang this paper of your wish. It is said that your wish will come true!
I forgot what I had written. But, I am hoping that my wish will come true!
The room of Mt. Grdharakuta. Mt. Grdharkuta is a name of the Indian place remebered in conneciton with Buddha. There are windows at every four direcitons. You can look out East, West, South and North
Before you enter any holy ground, make sure to remove your shoes to show respect and reverence to the place. There are plastic bags hanging in-front of the building of the Ushiku Buddha especially available for visitors. Remove your shoes and put them in the plactic bag and carry it with you before you get into the elevator.
The Ushiku Buddha building is well-carpeted. So, there is no worry about getting your feet dirty!
When you are in Rome, do what the Romans do! Yes, this saying applies here at the Ushiku's Buddha. We were told to hit the gong first before we enter. So, that's what we did. I have to count six steps on a mini bridge (I followed the footprints that were already marked on the bridge) and pulled the long rope that linked to the gong. I hit it so hard with all my strength to let it known that I am entering the Ushiku Buddha!
BLOGGH! BLOGGH! BLOGGH! The gong echoed all over the well-landscaped surroundings of the Buddha. It echoed on top of trees and probably all the way to the valleys and hills!
Then, I proceeded to enter into the Ushiku Buddha's spiritual grounds.
That's quite an experience. This is a sacred place so I have to respect their practice and their traditions!
You have to slow down on your way to the top of the Buddha. There are so many black and white pictures set up in series that depict the construction of the Buddha. There are pictures of how the Japanese constructed just the "big toe" of the Buddha. The enormous amount of cement poured on the toe and the steel that were put on the toe was just amazing to know.
The picture of the detailed construction of the "Head of the Buddha" is also awesome. The pictures of helicopters hoovering around to lift the head of the Buddha and attach it to the body is just an amazing sight.
The pictures are fixed to the walls inside the Buddha on the second floor. There is also the "Buddha's toe" that was constructed and displayed on the floor.
I've taken my dog to Chateau twice. The first time was on a rainy "hanami" Sunday(cherry blossom viewing season). Even though it was raining, the propery was full of visitors and there were some traffic control guys there. Everyone was nice to Yoshio, talked to her "Come on in, doggy."
The next time we went there on a weekday after the cherry blossom viewing season. People were putting away the extra tents and BBQ tables so no one was having BBQ outside but in the building. Thanks to the kind staff, we could use the BBQ table in the garden with our dog.
As I mentioned on my intro, It used to be a winery. They no longer produce wine here but you can still enjoy yourself here.
In the property, there are 3 restraunts, a cafe, a wine celler , a souvenir shop and the winery museum. It also has BBQ facilities in the garden.
Oops, forgot to mention the chapel.
I had my big day here!
Actually it should be included into the must-see-activities of Tsukuba... but maybe it deserves its own page. That is a nice excuse to make an excuse of a page. Anyway, every person coming to Tsukuba must pay a visit to the great buddha of Ushiku... or the Ushiku Dai Butsu. Dai, means great like in the great Napoleon (even if at the end of the road he resulted being rather small) or the great wall, that being a wall is not that great anymore. But, here Buddha said it: every thing that has shape have an end.
There is a micro brewery in the property of Chateau Kamiya. You can enjoy the freshly brewed beer or ale at the garden BBQ or other restaurants here.