Hill of the Buddha, Japan / Tadao Ando

Architect                                     : Tadao Ando Associates

Statue of the Buddha          : 13.5m in height, 1,500t in weight.(The statue is made from stones that weighed 4,000 in total before they were worked.)

Visiting hours                           : 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.(April - October) , 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.(November - March)

Closed                                           : The year-end and New Year's holidays,maintainance days

*A 300-yen donation per person is requested for maintaining the lavender fields and facilities.

This Buddha statue is known as the symbol of Makomanai Takino Cemetery. The recently created Hill of the Buddha, with the Atama Daibutsu at the center for worship,was created by world-famous architect Tadao Ando. “How does a statue become a more solemn,attractive figure? ” Ando asked himself. His bold answer was to cover the statue with a hill of lavender. Surprisingly,one only sees the head of the statue surrounded by the landscape of the hill.

Atama Daibutsu(The Buddha’s Head)was named for its novel, impressive appearance.It stands in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape in all seasons. Thus has a new symbol of the cemetery been established.

‘The aim of this project was to build a prayer hall that would enhance the attractiveness of a stone Buddha sculpted 15 years ago. The site is a gently sloping hill on 180 hectares of lush land belonging to a cemetery. The statue is 13.5 metres tall and weighs 1500 tons. It is made of fine, highly selected solid stone. Until now, the Buddha statue has stood alone in the field, giving an unrestful impression. The client wanted to give visitors a more serene appreciation of the Buddha.

The place is filled with verdure in spring,purple lavenders in summer and pure white snow in winter. One of the cemetery’s charms is how well it achieves harmony with the natural landscape.

Water garden
This is a sacred boundary.By detouring around the water garden instead of making a straight approach, one purifies the soul,and one’s mindset switches from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

The ceiling of the tunnel is done in folds of arched concrete.The dim space is womb-like. Only after passing through the tunnel can one look up to see this Buddha statue.

Corridor to the Buddha statue
After walking the 135-m approach,one can finally look up at the Buddha statue. The sunlight from the sky and the natural scenery overhead create a blessed moment.

Video: The hill of Buddha by Tadao Ando

Cite: Takinoreien.com. (2017). 頭大仏殿(Hill of the Buddha)_English | 真駒内滝野霊園. [online] Available at: http://takinoreien.com/?page_id=11959 [Accessed 30 Oct. 2017].

Vitra. (2017). Vitra | The Hill of the Buddha. [online] Available at: https://www.vitra.com/en-cz/magazine/details/the-hill-of-the-buddha [Accessed 30 Oct. 2017].

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