Do you remember when I said in my last post from Tokyo that I was dying to tell you about a very interesting temple I had visited in that city, but I didn't want you to get bored by just talking about Japanese temples (see my post about Senso-ji temple in Asakusa)? Well, I could wait no more, and in today's post I will guide you through the highlights of the Buddhist Zojoji Temple complex. I really recommend visiting it as it's a great place for meditation and getting the rest from all the hubbub of Japanese capital city, and besides it's a very important religious place for the locals.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Zojoji Temple is located in Minato District in Southern Tokyo. It's very close to Tokyo Tower (that red Eiffel Tower-like building that you can see on my pics behind the temple). In order to get to the temple as close as possible (if you're staying in other part of Tokyo), you need to take either MITA SUBWAY LINE and get off at ONARIMON STATION or SHIBAKOEN STATION, or OEDO SUBWAY LINE as well as TOEI ASAKUSA LINE and get off at DAIMON STATION.
HOURS AND FEES:
It's open from 9 am till 5 pm every day (no closing days), and there's no entrance fee - it's totally free :)
The first thing that catches your attention when you're walking up the street in the direction of the Zojoji temple in Minato district in Tokyo is a huge wooden gate (THE OLDEST WOODEN STRUCTURE IN TOKYO). It is called Sangedatsumon (which means a gate for getting delivered from three earthly states of mind: greed, anger and stupidity) and it is the temple's main gate built in 1622 (the only construction that survived fires, earthquakes and wars), measuring 21 metres in height and 28.7 metres in width.
BIG BELL, THE DAIBONSHO:
Not to be missed at all - this 15-ton bell from XVII century is situated on the right after entering the main gate, just behind the temple's map. It's really impressive: it's more than 3 metres high and it has a diameter of 1.76 metres.
Originally, the Zojoji Temple, which is a Jodo Shu temple - one of the main sects of Buddhism, was built in 1393, and then moved to its current location in 1598. The building was destroyed by the air raids in May in 1945 and then reconstructed in 1974. The temple is dedicated to Jizo who is a patron saint of travelers as well as children in the afterlife (SEE THE PART - IMPRESSIVE JIZO STATUES BELOW).
Inside this Buddhist temple you will find a beautifully decorated area surrounding the image of Amida Buddha and on the left - a big colourful drum (here you can hear how it sounds).
Zojoji Temple Main Building and Tokyo Tower in the background
IMPRESSIVE JIZO STATUES:
This may be a pretty scary view - on the right side of the temple you will find hundreds of statues of small children wearing woolen hats and holding colourful fans which move with the wind creating even scarier atmosphere around. It is a cemetery that represents unborn children - including those that were aborted and stillborn. Usually every statue is accompanied by a small gift for their patron saint, Jizo, to ensure that they will be safely brought to the afterlife.
Tell me if it doesn't sound a little bit scary???
Hundreds of Jizo statues
This Buddhist temple is associated with the Tokugawa family which ruled in Japan during the Edo Era. You can visit the mausoleum (entrence fee) of 6 Tokugawa Shoguns and their family members which is situated just behind the temple.
OTHER BUILDINGS AND STATUES INSIDE THE COMPLEX:
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