Let’s start this post with saying that this picture is pretty cool. Because I am standing next to the 2nd biggest statue in the world. Yes. 100 meters high plus a 20meters base. A total of 120 meters, and a very very impressive statue. A Buddha that makes the one in Kamakura, no matter how much I love it, look really really small. The pictures don’t pay it justice at all.
Back in April of last year, my sister and I travelled through Japan, and after visiting Kyoto, Nara, Akameguchi and Takao san, coming back to Tokyo and its skyscrapers felt a little bit too much like the end of this wonderful trip.
My sister and I spent the evening looking online for a daytrip from Tokyo, a last but not least adventure in Japan. Hiking spots and trails were many but we were both way too tired (don’t underestimate how much you’ll walk in Japan), so we decided to look up our other main interest : religious buildings. And we saw that less than two hours away from Tokyo you could see the 2nd biggest statue in the world, an amazing Daibutsu that you could even enter… our choice was made!
One of the things I love about Japan is how easy it is to navigate between cities, villages and sightseeings. Yes, knowing japanese does help but the buses, metro, trains are so efficient, the people so helpful that it’s never a real issue. And if you remain in the most known and urban areas, most signs are in english anyway.
Finding the daibutsu wasn’t very difficult thanks to the lovely lady who asked for us (twice) to the bus driver whether he was driving there or not. With us in the bus, two chinese tourists and other japanese people. We were the only non asian tourists, and even when we reached the park in which stands the Daibutsu, there weren’t that many visitors. A surprise, given how affordable it is and most importantly, how beautiful both the statue and the surroundings are!
While we were sitting a few meters away from the Buddha, next to a pound an old japanese man came to us and we started chatting, in my rather meagre japanese. He had just gone through a surgery on his leg, and was talking weekly walks in the park, enjoying the nature and lack of crowds or cars. I had to agree with him, it was a wonderful place. Peaceful, beautiful, interesting and out of time. Out of the city.
I felt very lucky. I felt so lucky. To be there, to see those monuments, to meet those people, to share those moments with my sister. I can’t even count how often I felt this way : lucky, while on the road. In Italy, in Ukraine, in Japan, in Portugal … Lately I have been reading a few posts about how privileges and luck are important in travelling. Why it matters, and why no, a desire to see the world and savings don’t necessarily make it possible to travel. Because there are many factors in my life that made it possible for me to enjoy a bento box in Ushiku, other than me working and saving money.
I will perhaps write a bit more about it, in a next post, because just like anyone who travels a bit, I get the question very frequently “but how do you afford to travel?“, and the answer is much more complex than I’m saving and have a part-time job.