Walking around Makomanai Takino Cemetery, located in Hokkaido Prefecture’s Sapporo City, you will see just the head of a large buddha statue from afar. Many tourists are surprised at the Atama Daibutsu statue's entirety once they get a closer look.
Huge, historical buddha statues can be found throughout Japan. Some examples include the Great Buddha in Nara and the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Even from a distance, most of these statues can be seen standing majestically.
Also popular among foreign tourists, here we will introduce this large and unique monument known as the Hill of the Buddha!
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The Mysterious Hill of the Buddha: Find a Monument Designed by Tadao Ando in a Cemetery

The head of the Atama Daibutsu peeks out over fields of lavender.

Daibutsu, or Great Buddha, is the name for large statues of buddha made to honor the Buddhist religion and its traditions.
The first Great Buddha is said to be built by Emperor Shomu in Todai-ji Temple during the Nara Period (year 710 through 784). After the construction of the first statue, many others were built throughout different regions in Japan.
Peeking its head over fields of Hokkaido lavender, the Hill of the Buddha is a monument in Mokomanai Takino Cemetery located in Hokkaido Prefecture’s Sapporo City. This monument was completed in 2016 as a way to commemorate the cemetery’s 30th anniversary.
It was designed by Tadao Ando, an architect famous for working on many creative buildings both within and outside of Japan.
Examples of his works include the Japanese Pavilion for the Seville Expo in 1992 and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in the United States.
The statue was named Atama Daibutsu because only the statue's head (atama) peeks out from the dome-shaped roof.
Makomanai Takino Cemetery is the largest cemetery found in Sapporo City. Run by a public interest corporation, this large space is decorated with flowers and greenery. It offers an overall soothing and peaceful atmosphere.
Contrary to traditional cemeteries, it’s more welcoming due to its many monuments, including Moai statues, a replica of Stonehenge, and the Hill of the Buddha. Because of this, people come to this cemetery not only to visit the graves but also to visit the monuments as a tourist.
To get to Makomanai Takino Cemetery, take the Nanboku Line from Sapporo Station and get off at the last stop called Makomanai Station. From there, take either the free shuttle bus or the local 108 bus for 20 minutes.

Prepare to Be Greeted by Moai Statues When Entering Makomanai Takino Cemetery

It’s as if you have stepped into a strange and different world.

Once arriving at Makomanai Takino Cemetery, you will be greeted by rows of Moai statues. This surprising sight …

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