Usuki Stone Buddhas
Learning the Culture of Usuki
When you visit Usuki City, Usuki Stone Buddhas and the ruins of Usuki Castle (Usuki Park) are two must-see places. It is said that the Usuki Stone Buddhas (stone-cliff Buddhas), including the Furuzono Stone Buddha, were built around the late Heian period (7941185) to the Kamakura period (11851333).
Large in scale, high in number and build quality, this group of stone Buddhas represents Japan. In June 1995, they were designated as National Treasures, the first among stone-cliff Buddhas in Japan and also the first among statues in Kyushu.
There are over 60 statues, of which 61 are National Treasures.
The Ruins of Usuki Castle (also called Nyujima Castle and Turtle Castle).
Since this was the castle of a famous Christian lord, Sorin Otomo, it is said to have stone walls with inscribed alphabet-like letters, a chapel within the building and a Christian training center in the castle town. When the castle was first built, it was on a remote island called Nyujima. The sea water surrounding the castle served as a strong natural fortress.