During the Edo period within the precincts of Kanei-ji temple, there was a great Buddha statue on top of hill in front of you. This site is known as "Daibutsu yama"(Great Buddha hill).
In 1631, the first great Buddha was created by a feudal lord Hori Naoyori. Lord Hori governed the area around Murakami in Niigata Prefecture. It was a seated Buddha of 2.8 meters in height, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1647.
The second Buddha was created by the monk Jyoun who collected (donations) money from Edo citizens. It was also a seated Buddha 3.6 meters tall.
The face of the second Buddha images fell off during the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, and later the body and pedestal were delivered to the government under the Metal Acquisition Law, which ordered the delivery of metallic goods owned by citizens to the government, to produce weapons during the WWII. Only the face remains at Kan-eiji temple. In 1967 a wall was built on top of the hill and the Buddha head was enshrined on the wall in a relief style setting. Then in 1972 the Ueno Tourist Association built the current pagoda, including three Buddhist images of Yakushi Nyorai (Physician of souls) , Gakko Bosatsu and Nikko Bosatsu.