In Japan it’s easy to meet such statues as komainu (lion dogs), kitsune (foxes), or giant guardians of temples as they are everywhere, but during my trips I also met unique, one-of-a-kind statues, and other rare images.
This year is the Year of the Rat, or nezumi in Japanese. I saw stone sculptures of rats just once – it was somewhere in East Kyoto, located near the Philosophers’ Path. I liked those sculptures for being expressive.
The image of a monkey, or saru in Japanese, is not very common and it makes one temple of Nikko unique. The temple features different scenes with monkeys carved from wood including three monkeys: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. The carving is rather small, but very famous!
Visiting the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) of Todai-ji temple in Nara I suddenly noticed metal butterflies placed on a vase. I was amazed at the zoological accuracy they were made with, and took some photos. I have never seen any sculptures of butterflies anywhere else in Japan. Other unique images I've seen at temples include a huge sandal made from straw at the entrance to Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa, Tokyo), a stone Buddha in Nagano Prefecture made from a whole rock dating back to 1660 AD, a lotus made from bronze near Kamakura Daibutsu, and water lilies made from metal in Nikko.
Some other interesting and unique sculptures I can list include a snail and a grasshopper made from metal near Ikebukuro Station, a wasabi root at a wasabi plantation, a trio of goblins in Nagano, a huge rose near Roppongi's Mori Tower, and a colorful sculpture of a little boy in Matsumoto. In Ito there is a seaside park with many modern unique sculptures.
On several occasions I came across non-Japanese images, such as "La Bocca Della Verita" which means “The Mouth of Truth”, signed as a gift from the City Committee of the festival Sole (Rieti Province). It was also a funny surprise to encounter a character from the popular Russian children's book “Crocodile Gena” at the Chihiro Art Museum. Another unexpected encounter was finding a copy of the Statue of Liberty on Odaiba Island.
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I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: https://gurushots.com/f10384/photos Matane!