In the Usuki City of Oita Prefecture, there is a place called Usuki Sekibutsu (Usuki Stone Buddhas), where nearly 60 Magaibutsu carved into the rock walls are lined up.
Magaibutsu “磨崖仏” refers to stone Buddha statues that have been dug into rock walls in their original state.
The Usuki Stone Buddhas have high artistic value and are representative of Japan’s Buddhist statues.
This article is about the Usuki Stone Buddha (Usuki Magaibutsu) in Oita Prefecture.
- About the Usuki Stone Buddha (Usuki Magaibutsu)
- Four Groups of Usuki Stone Buddhas
- Summary of Oita Usuki Magaibutsu (Stone Buddha Group)
About the Usuki Stone Buddha (Usuki Magaibutsu)
Usuki Stone Buddha, designated as a national treasure
It is not clear when the Usuki stone Buddha (Magaibutsu) group in Oita Prefecture, Kyushu was created.
They are thought to have been carved into the rock walls of Usuki City between the Heian and Kamakura periods.
In Japan, there are many different types of Magaibutsu all over the country, but only this one, Usuki Ishibutsu, has been designated as a national treasure.
The Buddha images in the Magaibutsu are all unique, and many of them have such beautiful faces that they could be considered works of art.
Four Groups of Usuki Stone Buddhas
The four groups of cliffs in the Usuki Stone Buddha are divided into the following four groups.
Hoki Stone Buddha Group 1 and Group 2
After purchasing a ticket, walk through the entrance for a while and you will see the first and second group of stone statues of Hoki stone Buddha on your right. The word “hoki” means cliff or precipice.
This is a corner where stone Buddha statues such as Nyorai Sanzon, Jizo Jyuoh and Amida Sanzon are lined up on the rock wall. The stone Buddha in the photo above is a statue of Amitabha Sanzon, which was carved in the Heian period.
Sannosan Stone Buddha Group (Sannosan Sekibutsu Cluster)
As we walked along the route, the next thing we saw was the Sannosan Stone Buddha. When we visited, they were restoring the statue, and scaffolding was set up around the Nyorai statue in the center.
The blue light that the statue is exposed to in the photo above is ultraviolet light. When moss and ferns grow on the rock walls, they gradually damage the stone Buddha, so they use ultraviolet light to keep it from deteriorating.
This group of Sannoyama stone Buddhas is also a work from the Heian period.
Furuzono Stone Buddha Group
And here is the representative stone Buddha of Usuki, the Koen stone Buddha group.
Only the head of the Dainichi Nyorai Buddha, which used to be in the center, was displayed with its head down, but it has now been restored to its original position, and we can see the Dainichi Nyorai statue in its beautiful condition.
All of the stone Buddha statues in Usuki are covered by the roof of the main hall for protection.
Summary of Oita Usuki Magaibutsu (Stone Buddha Group)
Magaibutsu with distinctive facial features
Each of the stone statues of Buddha in Usuki has a different face.
Some of their outlines have become a little blurred due to weathering over the years, but all of them have their own distinctive faces.
In particular, the Dainichi Nyorai statue in the Koen stone Buddha group had a simple, child-like face at first glance, but I never got tired of looking at it.
If you have a chance to travel to Oita Prefecture, please visit the Usuki Stone Buddhas.
Oita Usuki Stone Buddhas Opening Hours, Access, and Parking
|Access||To get to the Usuki Stone Buddha, it is a 5-minute drive from the Usuki Interchange and a 20-minute drive from Usuki Station.|
|Fee||Adults: 550 yen (Children: 270 yen)|
|Opening hours||6am to 7pm (6pm from October to March)|
|Parking||There is a free parking lot in front of the site.|
Other sightseeing spots in the area
The Usuki Stone Buddha is located near popular hot spring resorts such as Beppu Hot Spring and Kurokawa Hot Spring.