Furumachi is an old downtown area in Niigata. Many of you may have seen a large statue of some kind when you looked up while shopping, eating and drinking in the shopping streets and commercial buildings.
Yes, this is him. Many people don't notice him, hidden between the buildings, but he's definitely standing there, not just a two-storey house, but bigger than a multi-storey building...
I decided to head towards the foot of this statue, which I usually glance at casually. Then I saw a temple that looked like a concrete building.
Temple? It says 'Kouganji'.
Looking up, you can see a statue over the power lines. This is apparently a statue of Kobo-Daishi. 'Kobo-Daishi? If you don't know who Kobo-Daishi is, you may remember Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect in the Heian period (794-1185), from your history textbooks! You may recall that he was the founder of the Shingon Sect in the Heian period. I think it looks different when you look up at it from below than when you look at it from afar.
An information board was erected next to the temple.
In July 1969 (Showa 44), Hiraoka Kōkan, who was inspired by Kobo-Daishi, the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, built Kōgan-ji's Daishidō Hall as a place to practise the 88 temples of Shikoku, with Kobo-Daishi as the principal deity.
Yes, they are. The temple was built more recently than expected. There are Niou statues on both sides. They were made by a living national treasure.
And the statue of Kobo-Daishi is a whopping 30 feet! That's about 9 metres!
It's about the size of Ultraman! I looked it up and found that Ultraman is 40 metres long. I also checked and found that Gundam is 18 metres, and the Female Titan in Shinkage no Kyojin is 14 metres... Hmmm - a bit small compared to the big guys, don't you think...
Bartholomew Kuma, a former Shichibukai in ONE PIECE, is 6.24 metres! And the even bigger ex-Shichibukai 'Gekko Moriah' is 6.92m, even bigger than Moriah! I was convinced that this statue of Kobo-Daishi must be big because it is bigger than the Shichibukai.
Incidentally, it said that there are 88 Buddhist statues and 88 Kannon statues in the temple, but the door was closed with a padlock. Unfortunately, it seems that on the 28th, they will hold a goma service, so I wonder if it will be open?
From the outside, it is a bit derelict, so the goma service on the 28th may not be taking place.
From the back, it's a complete building! And encroached by plants! And the back!
Anyway, the Kobo-Daishi statue has been watching over Niigata Furumachi for more than 40 years. We hope it will continue to watch over us for many years to come.
I had quite plump lips.
One day I would like to find a point where I can make eye contact with the statue of Kobo-Daishi.
I was told by Andi ( @furumachi ) on twitter that it was originally a strip hut! Hmmm. Amazing!