Visitors would be forgiven for thinking they’ve entered in a set of a horror movie: hundred of statues stare straight forwards, some dressed in suits and others imitating Buddhist deities.
They stand near the town of Osawano in Japan in a village named Fureai Sekibutsu no Sato, which translates literally to “the village where you can meet Buddhist statues”.
Some time ago, the Japanese photographer Ken Ohki, or Yukison, began a journey across the globe to search for areas and places to find “unreal” environments. Not far from Japan, he found this place, in which about 800 statues are placed, mostly of Buddhist deities but also of people who were (or still are) alive. The bizarre park was created by Mutsuo Furukawa, a Japanese entrepreneur who paid a sum close to 6 billion Yen, (about 63 million euros at today’s exchange) to a Chinese sculptor in 1989 for the figures and hoped to keep them with him for all eternity.
In the entrepreneur’s plans, the park should have become a resting point for people who want to relax in the area, and at the time had it connected to the center of the nearest city with free buses.
The statues depict different subjects, mostly Buddhist deities, but also family and friends that Furukawa considered worthy to make immortal through the stone of the statues. One of the details that most strikes the viewer is certainly the fine workmanship of the sculptures, which were made by a master of the area. The statues and the park are today in a state of total abandonment, with the grass that now covers the stone of many statues up to above the head.
The photographer described the experience as “disturbing”, above all because, when evening comes and the park is completely enveloped in darkness, the statues so precisely carved seem to come to life.
Soon after taking the photos, Yukison deserted the area after getting creeped out by the unseeing eyes of the statues.
He wrote on his blog: “I found this incredible place in Toyama Prefecture.
I felt like I’d accidentally stumbled into some forbidden area. Amazing.”
Yukison also explained: “’You come to feel like something is moving every time you turn around.
I felt like I’d been to another world.”
If you go to Japan and you want to visit something really “unusual”, in my opinion this is a good find, with more than 800 motionless grey statues that stare out at the bus loads of tourists who come to visit the park.