The Udono Stone Buddhas are carved into a rock face called Udono Iwaya, in Ouchi town, Karatsu city. Apparently there was originally a big cave here, inside which stood Byodo Temple. The temple burnt down and now only the rock face remains. According to the records of Mt Udono Byodo Temple written in 1594, these stone Buddhas began when Kukai chiseled a phrase into the rock face. On the way back from returning from China, Kukai apparently stopped by here and chiseled the three statues of Mida, Gautama and Kannon. Unfortunately these three statues no longer exist today and, while the reason itself is unknown, there is no doubt that this site was a worshipping ground for Tantric Buddhism. The oldest of these stone Buddha statues are Eleven Faced Avalokitesvara in the center, along with Tamonten and Dhrtarastra on either side. These creations are estimated to date back to the Nanboku-cho Period (1334-1392). There are 58 statues in total, including Vairocana and Acala, that were made between the Nanboku-cho Period and the Edo Period. The valiant stone Buddha statues provided a place of solace for the Matsura samurai of the time and are also said to have been the gem of the culture of that period. The statues are believed to have been influenced by Greece and India.
From train station: 20-minute walk from Ouchi Station on the JR Karatsu Line
Get on Showa Bus bound for Karatsu at Ouchi Station on the JR Karatsu Line, get off at “Suehiro-cho” stop, and walk for 10 minutes
5-minute taxi ride from Ouchi Station on the JR Karatsu Line
Car: 25-minute drive from Nagasaki Expressway Taku IC
● Free entry
● Parking Lot: Accommodates 100 cars (free of charge)
● Contact: Ouchi Branch Office, Karatsu Tourist Association, Tel: +81-955-51-8312