A visit to the Zojoji Temple Tokyo

Zojoji Temple Jizo statuesOur visit to the Zojoji Temple left me with one of my most lasting impressions of Tokyo. To be honest, it was not the temple itself that moved me – despite the beautiful peaceful gardens – so much as the serene rows of little statues each standing with a peaceful expression.

Zojoji Temple Jizo statues TokyoThe Jizo statues each held a toy wind mill and were dressed with a red crocheted baby cap. These statues are said to protect and calm the souls of stillborn infants.

Zojoji Temple Jizo statuesThey are like the Buddhist equivalent of an angel that watches over the child’s soul.

Zojoji Temple Jizo statuesIn Japan there is a ceremony for those who have had a miscarriage or still born child.

Zojoji TempleEven though the Zojoji temple was badly damaged in World War II and was reconstructed in its original style in 1974 it is well worth visiting because it is a living Temple. People still worship and leave prayers written on strips of paper.

Zojoji TempleTo be honest, seeing these handwritten prayers beside the little Jizo statues – one for an Australian child – brought tears to my eyes and I had to leave and calm my emotions in the gardens. Jerry was subdued too, and he mentioned a friend who had recently experienced this.

The Zojoji Temple is a place that impressed me greatly so I thought I would share this and Jerry’s photographs with our readers.


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7 Responses to A visit to the Zojoji Temple Tokyo

  1. Faye Carike says:

    This is even touching via email.

  2. Christina says:

    I have never experienced this myself although I know several women (and their men) who have, and it is heart-wrenching. I am not surprised you were so affected, I think it would have got me the same way. It is so unbelievably sad, but this is a wonderful acknowledgement of a painful event that is so often overlooked in our culture.

    One thing that occurred to me is that the little red hats must need to be replaced from time to time – sun, rain, snow etc. Do you know who makes the hats and/or who replaces them?

    • sharonb says:

      Hi Chris – its the parents that do it – we saw a couple do that. They redressed the figure stepped back and both bowed there head for few moments in prayer. They were middle aged couple and I sensed they did this regularly. Most – like 90% of the statues are well dressed some were left to weather.

  3. Barbara Mleynek says:

    This brought tears to my eyes too-remembering a grandchild I never got to meet.

    Have been enjoying your trip, Jerry and his photos are amazing.

    Phoenix, Arizona USA

  4. Lesley Olivieri says:

    Greetings Sharon, This is an interesting temple and gardens.
    I think a lot of Australian ladies who have lost babies (whether full term, premature or still born) would love a special place to go to and remember their child who they never got to nurture. The “stiff upper lip” attitude has always made it hard to grieve properly.
    In the past I have been involved with the Sew Precious project and know from letters received from parents how they feel.

  5. Pingback: Tokyo Travel Blog part 2: Shiba Park, Tokyo Tower, Zojo-ji Temple | The Conditional Tense

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