garden, architecture, art

Zojoji Temple

A taste of Zojo Temple, the head temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism, one of Japan’s leading sects

Zojo Temple is one of the seven main temples of the Jodo sect of Buddhism located in Minato-ku, Tokyo, and was founded in the vicinity of present-day Hirakawa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, by  Saint Yuyo Shoso.

The history of this temple is long, dating back to the 14th century.

At that time, more than 120 buildings and more than 100 dormitories were lined up on the temple’s vast grounds, and more than 3,000 monks were chanting Buddhist prayers.

Zojo’s past, present and future goals are to seek peace through the Nembutsu prayer for rebirth in the Pure Land, and to send this message to the world.

Zojo Temple is a popular spot for international travelers

Zojo Temple is a popular spot among foreign tourists. The reason for this is that the temple is the family temple of the Tokugawa family and is a historically important building with a deep connection to the family. And it is full of Japanese style as more than 1000 Jizo statues can be seen at Chitai Koiku Jizozon.

Jizo-sama, officially called Jizo Bosatsu, has been one of the objects of faith in Buddhism since ancient times and has saved people from their troubles and suffering. Jizo is often seen wearing a red hood or a slobber cover because red is believed to be a clean, correct and honest color, and it is customary to wear it to ward off evil.

At Zojo Temple, you should see a series of Jizo wearing red knit hats along with windmills. You can enjoy a mysterious world surrounded by nature.

Power spots associated with the Tokugawa family

Zojo Temple is also popular as a power spot.

A total of six shoguns, including the 2nd Shogun Hidetada, the 6th Shogun Ienobu, the 7th Shogun Ietsugu, the 9th Shogun Ieshige, the 12th Shogun Iekei, and the 14th Shogun Ieshige, are buried in the Tokugawa Shogun’s grave on the temple grounds.

The Tokugawa family is an important part of the history of Japan.

The principle deity of the Ankoku-den temple is a black statue of Amida Nyorai, which was deeply worshipped by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and it is known for its good fortune in winning and driving away evil spirits.

It is no wonder that many visitors come to the temple to get strength from the Gohonzon, which brought about 300 years of peace to the Tokugawa family.

In addition, there are many other power spots in Zojo Temple, such as the main hall of the Daiden Temple, Nishimyo Kannon, Sentai Kosodate Jizo, Shiba-Toshogu, and Shibamaru-yama Burial Mound.

The contrast with Tokyo Tower is spectacular

Located right next to Tokyo Tower, it’s easy to get to, and you can even take a photo of Tokyo Tower from the temple grounds to enjoy the collaboration of old and new historical architecture.

We recommend the view from the front when you reach the main hall. The contrast between Zojo Temple, founded in 1393, and Tokyo Tower, founded in 1957, is breathtaking.

The way to the Pure Land of Paradise

The path from the Daimon Gate to the main hall of the temple is said to be a path to the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss (the real world where we live), and there are various decorations in the temple grounds.

For example, the distance from the Sangedatsu Gate to the Great Hall is 48 ken (about 87 meters), which is said to represent the 48 vows made by Amida Buddha.

This large, vermilion-colored gate is designated as a national important cultural property, and it is said that one can dispel vapors by passing through it.

There are also 25 steps to the Great Hall, signifying the “25 Bodhisattvas” who are welcomed from the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.

When you have liberated yourself from your vexations along the way and have a clear view of the solemn world of paradise in the Great Hall, you may understand the beliefs of the Jodo sect.

Closing remarks

Zojo Temple is not only an important place for the Jodo sect of Buddhism, but is also associated with the Tokugawa family.

Why don’t you visit the temple?

Auther:Mamiko Kusano

CREAZIONE Co.Ltd. Director
From Tokyo
2006 Established CREAZIONE Co. Ltd. I mainly work on branding, digital branding, space design, and furniture design.