Daibutsu is the Japanese word used for giant statues of Buddha. One of the most famous giant Buddha statues in Japan is located at the Kotōku-in temple in the coastal town of Kamakura. The Kamakura Daibutsu is a massive, sitting Buddha made of copper. The statue is 11.4 meters tall and weighs approximately 850 tonnes. Originally the statue was housed in a large wooden hall. Inn 1334 and 1369 the hall was destroyed by typhoons and rebuilt. In 1498 the hall was destroyed by an earthquake, and it was decided to not rebuild the hall. So for the last several hundred years the statue has been sitting outside.
The Kamakura Daibutsu sits in a meditative posture in a courtyard at the end of a stone walkway. The Buddha wears a robe which covers his crossed legs. His hands rest in his lap and his eyeslids are lowered. His head is bowed slightly. For visitors of Kōtoku-in, seeing the Kamakura Daibutsu is an awe inspiring and humbling experience. I was entranced by the Great Buddha. No matter which angle I viewed the statue from, its aesthetic held sway over me, communicating a sense of wisdom, stillness, and contemplation.
I think for any traveler staying in Tokyo, a daytrip to Kamakura and its Great Buddha is a must. Kamakura is home to a number of temples, and the town has a nice beach to walk on, where one can watch surfers riding waves as gulls wheel overhead.