The One about Zojoji Temple (in Minato)



If you are heading to Tokyo Tower, right across the street is the Zozoji Temple.

The Buddhist temple is located in the Shiba neighborhood of Minato, Tokyo and it is the Great Main Temple of the Chinzei branch of Jodo-shu Buddhism.

Back in 1393, the Zojoji temple was founded as an orthodox and fundamental nembutsu seminary for Jodo shu.

The temple was relocated to its present site in 1598 after Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, entered Edo (which is now known as Tokyo) in 1590 to establish the provincial government.






The temple served as the family temple of the Tokugawa family but as many temples in Japan were destroyed by air raids during World War II, Zojoji has been rebuilt and serves as the main temple of Jodo shu and the central nembutsu seminary for priests and novices.

The only structure left from the Edo Period is the Sangedatsumon (Main Gate) which was built in 1622.

Six of the 15 Tokugawa shoguns are buried at Zozo-ji and there is a garden with stone statues of children which represent unborn children, including miscarried, aborted and stillborn children.  Parents can choose a statue and dress them up in small clothing and toys and often come with a gift for Jizo, the guardian of unborn children, to ensure they are brought to the afterlife.

Photos by Dennis A. Amith and Antonio Airoso