The smell of scent sticks burnt by believers, mixed with flowers being offered. The soft drizzle around us. The sound of coins being dropped before a prayer and the sound of cicadas with now and then a click of our camera bring back alive a sacred place on the west coast of Kyushu.
Admiring the 59 Buddhas of Usuki is absolutely breathtaking. Carved in volcanic rock probably during the Heian period (794-1185) and the Kamakura period (1185-1333), they remain a mystery: no one knows for what purpose or by whom these statues were made.
The attention and dedication with which these Buddhas were carved is impressive. Their facial expressions convey warmth and peacefulness. Some colours are still visible after all these centuries and it is a miracle that no more of the statues have been eroded by rain as the stone is soft.
After 14 years of restoration you can visit this national treasure Japan has to offer and experience the serene athmosphere.
Marcella & Claire