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Virtually every Japanese municipality has at least one temple. Kamakura, a coastal town in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, is less than an hour south of Tokyo and is home to one of Japan’s most famous shrines. Originally built in 1252, the bronze bust of Amida Buddha, Japan’s second largest Buddha statue, sits serenely on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. Now meditating in plain sight of passers-by, its history tells of a time when Amida narrowly escaped its fate as a confined centerpiece to many a great hall. Over the years, earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons would eradicate structures used to house the Buddha and eventually, what was left behind is what we have today— a peaceful effigy of Japan’s Pure Land Buddhism, quite literally living up to the name of its humble teachings.

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