In 1991 the statue, Sendai Daikannon, was the tallest statue in the world. Sendai Daikannon held this title until 1993 when it was surpassed by Ushiku Daibutsu which is 20 meters taller. Sendai Daikannon stands at 100 meters in height, the size of Godzilla, and can be seen from all around Sendai.
I noticed it from five miles away while I was at Sendai Castle and decided to make my way over to it. Unfortunately, when I arrived, they were already closed and I could not be there for worship time or to go inside the internals of the statue, or make it to the top. However, I was still able to see the statue and its temple, which I learned offers all sorts of services.
There are literal red flags around Daikanmitsuji Temple. These are actually Aburakakedaikokuten dedication flags which are dedicated by praying for the prosperity of a company or business. These flags will stay up for either half a year for 5,000 yen or for an entire year for 10,000 yen; the prayer fee is included in this.
Daikanmitsuji Temple also sells matchmaking ribbons which values the relationship of trust with people looking to meet good people, and affirms them in a trusting relationship where they can confide their worries and anxieties with each other. The first step requires courage, but if you take that step, all you have to do is to affirm a relationship.
Daikanmitsuji Temple offers memorial services, homa prayers, car talismans (to prevent car accidents), pregnancy prayers (to achieve an easy and healthy delivery for both the mother and child), kamochi prayers, shichi-go-san prayers and more. Like all the best temples, they also have big hanging bell (also known as a bonshō) outside which is used to summon monks to prayer. This bell is exceptionally loud and can be heard at marvelous distances. The sound of these bells is thought to have supernatural properties and can be heard in the underworld.
Today Sendai Daikannon is one of the tallest statues in the world. Because this is the biggest statue I have ever seen, I cannot imagine seeing one bigger, but apparently there are others that are bigger than this one. As you can see in the picture above there is a dragon’s head beneath the statue of Sendai Daikannon; this is the entrance into the statue. The dragon’s mouth at the entrance supposedly brings good luck and a rising dragon.
The inside of the statue is divided into 12 layers. On the first floor there is the Mizuko Kuyoden which enshrines 12 gods, 33 Kannon, Mizuko Kannon. From the 3rd floor to the 11th, there are 108 Buddha statues enshrined. Sendai Daikannon faces the front of Sendai Station. Sendai Daikannon is one of the 33 Kannon (Byakue Kannon), also said to be the mother of Kannon.