Jomyo-in, the Jizo Temple

I rode my bicycle past Jomyo-in Temple hundreds of times on my way to work, never suspecting that it might be worth visiting until last year they started doing construction on it, and I got a look inside because one of the walls was torn down. It’s actually pretty interesting because its filled wall-to-wall with thousands of Jizo sculptures.

Before the Meiji Restoration, all of Ueno Park and a lot of it’s surroundings were one huge temple called Kan’ei-ji, and Jomyo-in was one of its 36 sub-temples. Kan’ei-ji was closely associated with the Tokugawa Shoguns, and Jomyo-in is named for the mother of the fourth Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Ietsuna.

The temple was renamed Jomyo-in in 1723. The front gate is said to date back from this time.

The jizo thing was started by a monk called Myoun, who became the chief priest of the temple in 1876. He was originally from Osaka, and at the age of 25, while living as a hermit at a temple in Nikko, he came have great faith in Jizo. He started out with the idea of making a thousand jizo statues, but when they were finished, he started thinking big and decided to go for 84,000. The temple and some sites that I checked seem to indicate that there really are 84,000 jizo statues there, but there clearly aren’t.

There’s a really cool 360 degree panoramic photo of the temple here: http://www.360cities.net/image/jomyoin#695.86,-9.07,110.0

And a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY_gi-UPjo4&playnext=1&list=PL851D134A302A2D60

The temple is right next to the entrance of the Yanaka Cemetery.

There’s a very good map and detailed access information on this PDF: http://www.yes-tokio.es/pictures/fichas%20zonas/yanaka.pdf

Here is the temple’s official homepage, in really difficult to read Japanese: http://www.tendaitokyo.jp/jiinmei/jinss/ss3jyomyo.asp

 

Buddhist Pet Funerals

I hear the word “pettoro-su” (pet loss) surprisingly often these days, and it seems a lot of funeral parlors and graveyards are springing up to help bereaved owners put their loved ones to rest. One of the biggest companies is called Petto Ceremoni- Makoto (Sincere Pet Ceremonies), and it offers a wide range of pet funerals and cremations.

If you want to give your pet a sendoff, they have contracts with Buddhist temples to perform ceremonies.

After the funeral, you can have your pet’s ashes stores in a charnel house. According to their brochure, “The Shou Kannon watches over the charnel house. It’s said to be a Bodhisattva with great compassion, so you’ll be able to feel confident that your beloved pet’s soul is resting in peace through it’s enfolding kindness.” The urn storage service is free the first year, and costs 5,000 yen per year after that.

Here’s an article with more information about pet funerals: http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20090702-152168.html

Odd sights in a Japanese Graveyard

These graves are all from the Ushiku Joen, the cemetery around the Ushiku Daibutsu.

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As far as I know, “One Piece” is a manga about pirates and has nothing to do with volleyball. If anyone has an explanation for this, put it in the comments, please.

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An English tombstone tells the world that you’re international, even in death.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall

If you take my advice and visit the Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome, an excellent botanical garden with tons of exotic flowers, you might also want to stop in at the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall.
I chanced upon it while exploring the park that the botanical garden is in, and popped my head in the door wondering why there was a big wooden boat on land in the park. I took a couple of photos, and was about to leave because I though it was just a museum about tuna fishing.

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Then I noticed the pictures of the sailors with radiation burns and the paper cranes. It turns out that the place is a monument to a tragic nuclear accident that happened in the 1950s. When America was testing the hydrogen bomb in the Bikini Islands in 1954, they underestimated the power of the bomb, which turned out to be twice as powerful as they thought. The boat entered the fallout area, and all 23 of its crew members were exposed to high levels of radiation.
There’s more information about the incident at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daigo_Fukury%C5%AB_Maru

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It’s quite a small museum that you can see in a few minutes. There are some English translations of newspaper articles about the incident, so it’s pretty easy to understand. Admission is free.
There’s a map of the park and access information at: http://www.kensetsu.metro.tokyo.jp/kouen/kouenannai/park/english/yumenoshima.pdf

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Marina nearby the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Museum.

Love Hotel Crime and an S&M Hotel

Hope you’re not getting tired of love hotels. Today’s sample from my book is about the dark side of love hotels, an incredible S&M hotel in Roppongi called the Alpha-In, and a description of some of the shocking crimes that have taken place in them.

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I spent years visiting love hotels around Japan, interviewing love hotel designers, owners and staff, and wading through Japanese books on sex and love hotels to bring you this book.

It’s 182 pages of information about love hotels – their history, the people who design and operate them, their place in Japanese society, crime, and much, much more. There’s also a love hotel guide with information on how to get to the best hotels in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, Sapporo, and Fukuoka.

For more information about love hotels, please visit my newly updated love hotel page at: http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/lovehotels.html

To order or find out more about the book, please visit: http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/lovehotelbookintro.htm. There’s also a smaller guidebook, with just the hotel information for just 500 yen: http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/lovehotelguide.html

Paradize Park in Izu

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A diorama of what happens to murderers and thieves in the Buddhist hell.

The Izu Gokurakuen (Izu Paradise Park) is a strange attraction in  a popular hot spring in the Izu peninsula, which is filled with gruesome dioramas of the Buddhist hells that would give Stephen King the willies.  There are hundreds of little mannequins and dolls having their heads torn off, their skin flayed, being boiled alive and forced to eat  their own feces.  After the hells, it’s off to the Pure Land, where we learn that the temperature is the same as in Hawaii and that there is no rent or key money in Heaven.  It’s all based on a famous Buddhist text called the Ojoyoshu, the oriental equivalent of Dante’s Divine Comedy.  The oddest thing about it all is that it’s run by a family who worked together to make all the gruesomely realistic museum and it seems to be a popular stop for tour buses full of middle-aged couples.
ADDRESS: 370-1 Shimofunahara, Amagiyugashima-cho, Tagata-gun, Shizuoka, TEL: (0558) 87 0253, Admission 900 yen, Open 10-6, closed Thursdays.

Other posts about Paradise Park:

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/paradise-park-in-izu/

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/konseishin-the-penis-god/

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/izu-gokurakuen/

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/16/

Paradise Park in Izu

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Judge at the gates of Hell.

The Izu Gokurakuen (Izu Paradise Park) is a strange attraction in  a popular hot spring in the Izu peninsula, which is filled with gruesome dioramas of the Buddhist hells that would give Stephen King the willies.  There are hundreds of little mannequins and dolls having their heads torn off, their skin flayed, being boiled alive and forced to eat  their own feces.  After the hells, it’s off to the Pure Land, where we learn that the temperature is the same as in Hawaii and that there is no rent or key money in Heaven.  It’s all based on a famous Buddhist text called the Ojoyoshu, the oriental equivalent of Dante’s Divine Comedy.  The oddest thing about it all is that it’s run by a family who worked together to make all the gruesomely realistic museum and it seems to be a popular stop for tour buses full of middle-aged couples.
ADDRESS: 370-1 Shimofunahara, Amagiyugashima-cho, Tagata-gun, Shizuoka, TEL: (0558) 87 0253, Admission 900 yen, Open 10-6, closed Thursdays.

Other posts about Paradise Park:

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/konseishin-the-penis-god/

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/izu-gokurakuen/

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/16/

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