Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tokyo Tour: Zojoji Temple

After letting our breaths be taken by the view 150 meters above the ground via the Tokyo Tower, my tour buddies and I then walked just a few minutes across Tokyo Tower's vicinity for our next stop: Zojoji Temple.  According to some research I've made, it's the main temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism in the Kanto Region, originally built in 1393. However, Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of Tokugawa shogunate relocated the said temple in 1958 into its present site to establish his provincial government in Edo (present-day Tokyo). 

Okay, so much of the history thingy. I'll let the photos do the touring and the talking. :-)

Sangedatsumon or Main Gate. The wooden gate which serves as the front face of Zojoji Temple. It's a two-story high vermilion-lacquered statue; in the upper story are enshrined images of Shakyamuni Buddha, Samantabdhra and Manjusri bodhisattvas, and the sixteen arhat disciples of the Buddha. 

With my childhood friend, Aira.

View of the main gate from the inside.

Daibonsho or Big Bell. It is renowned to be one of the Big Three Bells of Edo Period and is tolled twice a day- six times each, in the morning and in the evening. This doing is said to ward off 108 earthly passions called bonno.

Tourists aren't permitted to go near the bell. 

Daiden (Hondo) or Main Hall. A huge image of Amida Buddha is enshrined here. This temple is used for all religious rites and memorial services. 

Tourists may opt to make their wishes after placing a coin on a wooden "well" at the front door of the hall. My childhood friend said that it's better to place coins with holes, I don't know the rationale for that. :)) I wasn't able to go inside the main hall since there's a ritual going on when we got there. I am also not sure if people can go inside even for a brief look.

Ankokuden. Another temple located beside the main hall, this time, I was able to go inside. Tourists are permitted here, in fact, the right part is mostly allotted for selling candles and other stuff. However, taking pictures is prohibited.

Before going inside, we lit some incense sticks for 100 yen each, I think.

Took this from the outside 'cos taking pictures inside the temple isn't allowed.

Some statues and tombstone-like monuments can also be found around the temple's confines. 

The well water can be used for washing hands and drinking.

These are statues of jizobosatusu, the protector of the souls of stillborn children. It is said to be the Buddhist's equivalent of an angel.  Mothers who have lost an unborn child may dedicate an image of the deity and adorn the statue with  baby clothes and toys.

According to Aira, these are wish papers. These are tied here to ward off bad luck.
There's a huge wooden frame wherein wooden blocks with names written on them. I believe those names are that of monks who have had lived and died there over the years.

Encountered this Koi fish balloon on our way out. Hi, brother! :)

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Last stop for the day: Shibuya (next post)