Beside the rows of cherry trees of Ueno Park, one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo, there is a strange metal object like a mask on the top of a mound. This is the face of the Great Buddha of Ueno which once stood here and is believed that you will pass the exam if you touch. The origin of this Buddha dates back to 1631. The daimyo feudal lord of the Murakami domain, the northern part of present Niigata Prefecture, erected a plaster Buddha, 2.1 meters high, at the current location. This place was his Tokyo mansion at that time, and was also in the grounds of Kaneiji Temple, a family temple of the Tokugawa Shogun family. The Buddha was destroyed by a quake in 1647, and was rebuilt as a metal Buddha, 3.6 meters high, in 1660. After that, a large Buddha hall was built to cover the Buddha. Since then, it had been rebuilt or restored every time it was damaged, and it reached over 6 meters high in its golden time. However, the head of the Buddha fell in the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. Other parts of the Buddha's head were melted down during the Second World War as a contribution to the army. In 1972, only the metal face of the Buddha was enshrined on its original location and continues to this day while bringing good luck to the examinees.
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