Japan’s Large Buddhist Statue in Sendai Now a Lovely Pink
It used to be the tallest statue in Japan and is still a major tourist attraction. But why is the Sendai Daikannon sporting a shade of pink?
By Nyri Bakkalian
A beloved Sendai tourist landmark has had a sudden change of color. Why is the Sendai Daikannon, which anchors the west side of Sendai’s skyline, now pink?
The Sendai Daikannon– in full, official name, Sendai Tendō Byakue Kannon– is one of Sendai’s most visible landmarks. Completed in 1991, it stands 100 meters, or 330 feet tall, in Sendai’s northerly Izumi ward, at the foot of the Ōu Mountains.
It was, for a time, the tallest freestanding statue in the world. Some on the Japanese language side of the internet joke that it has the air of the “last boss” of a video game, in how it towers over the city.
Ibaraki Prefecture‘s Ushiku Daibutsu surpassed the Sendai Daikannon in size in 1993. Despite being surpassed, the Daikannon remains Japan’s second-tallest Buddhist statue and the 5th tallest statue of any kind in the world. Far from simply a tourist attraction, it is also part of an active Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect, called Daikanmitsuji.
Also on the grounds is Aburagake Daikokuten, a small temple devoted to the deity Daikokuten. Inside the statue are displayed smaller examples of Buddhist statuary along multiple levels descending to the ground floor.
When I lived in Sendai, the Daikannon was one of my most reliable landmarks. By virtue of its size, I could see it from almost anywhere. If it was on my right, I was looking roughly south. If it was on my left, I was looking roughly north. Even from the foot of Date Masamune’s equestrian statue on Mount Aoba– a landmark we’ve covered in a prior article — I could see it, looking east to the sunrise. She holds one hand up in a mudra and a wish-fulfilling jewel in the other hand.