Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Image of Kannon in Takasaki City

EMU JR East 211-3000 series stands at Takasaki Station on the Shinetsu Main Line

Many cities in the world have their own landmarks. For instance, New York has the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. In Japan, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree or Rainbow Bridge may be the landmarks of Tokyo Metropolis. What about in local cities? Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture has a beautiful castle. What about in Takasaki?

As I posted before, Tasasaki is located about 100 km north of Tokyo. It is famous among rail-fans as the city of locomotives. As its name suggests, many classic locomotives are still preserved and operated there. Takasaki has a famous landmark, named the image on Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy) standing on Mt. Kannon. It was constructed in 1936 by a local businessman, Inoue Yasusaburo, for paying respect to the war dead. Its height is 41.8 meters, which was the tallest image of Kannon in the world at that time. Visitors can climb up the stairs inside and enjoy the beautiful city view from the top of the image of Kannon.

To get to this landmark, the nearest station is Takasaki on the JR East lines. When I visited there last December, I saw the EMU 211 series standing at the station. Unfortunately, my favorite old train, the 115 series with Shonan-colored bodies was not there, as it has been retired one after another. According to JR East, all the EMU 115 series trains with Shonan-colored bodies will disappear from the Takasaki Branch Office area by the end of March.

Byakue Kannon near Takasaki Station