Experience Stone-Cold Stares in Japan’s Statue Village

@YUKISON / Ken Ohki

If you travel into the mountains of Toyama, Japan, you’ll stumble upon a hidden village. Instead of citizens, though, this village, known as Fureai Sekibutsu no Sato, is filled with statues of Japanese townspeople.

The English translation of “Fureai Sekibutsu no Sato” is “the village where you can meet Buddhist statues.” There are definitely plenty of statues here for visitors to meet — over 800 of them.

All of these statues were created by a Chinese sculptor and commissioned by Mutsuo Furukawa, a wealthy Japanese chairman. In 1989, Furukawa paid approximately $57.5 million (or 6 billion yen) for them.

The village features hundreds of unique and lifelike statues. Some are dressed in suits and modeled after photographs of Furukawa’s friends and colleagues. Others are sculpted to resemble Buddhist deities.

When he commissioned the statues of his friends and colleagues, Furukawa took pictures of them from the front, side, and back. He then sent those photographs to the Chinese sculptor, who created the statues and then shipped them back to Toyama by boat.

It took 3-4 years for all of the statues to be completed and placed. The oldest statues sit at the top of the hill, while the newer ones sit at a lower elevation.

Originally, Furukawa hoped that the statue village would serve as a tourist attraction. He wanted it to be a place where people could come and relax.In some ways, his vision became a reality.

Plenty of people come to visit the statues each year. However, they’re not exactly coming for relaxation. Most are coming to witness the sculptures, which, with their straightforward stares and rigid posture, can be a bit intimidating and unsettling, to say the least.

Whether they wanted to experience tranquility or a healthy dose of fear, those who take a visit to Toyama, Japan can travel just 30 minutes to get to Fureai Sekibutsu no Sato. To see images of the statues without taking an international trip, folks who are interested can also check out the following video: