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

 

Otaku Photos

I found these on a Japanese blog called  V-blog, which is kind of a “best of 2channel” site. The original 2Channel thread the photos come from seems to be gone, though.

http://gasoku.livedoor.biz/archives/51296495.html

Hina Doll at the Awashima Shrine in Wakayama

Hina doll at Awashima Jinja in Wakayama prefecture. Many Japanese people believe that dolls have souls, so instead of throwing them in the garbage, they take them to a shrine where they are blessed and ritually burned or thrown into the sea.

Other posts with pictures of Awashima Jinja:

https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/?s=awashima

Yoyogi Bubbleman

bubbleman1
Last Sunday I came across this bubble blowing club in Yoyogi Park.

bubbleman21

The Temple of the Flying Buddha

hifudo-ema

Shobo-in temple near Asakusa is dedicated to the Buddhist deity Fudo Myo, and is popularly known as Tobi Fudo. Tobi Fudo means “the flying Fudo Myo.” The temple got its nickname in the 1500s when its founder took an image of Fudo Myo to Mt. Omine, some 300 miles away. The story goes that the image flew back to Tokyo one night, to answer the prayers of devotees there.
Today, a lot of young women who are trying to become flight attendants or people who are afraid of flying go there to pray. The wooden board in the photo is an ema, or votive plaque which people use to write their wish on.

For more information about Shobo-in and the Tobi Fudo, visit: http://www.tctv.ne.jp/tobifudo/engi/eengi.html

Birdman

adachi-festival-performer

Bird man street performer

A Japanese Garden Ready for Winter

shobuen-covered-tree

The Horikiri Shobuen is a small but very nice iris garden near my apartment in Katsushika Ward. It gets jam-packed in early June when the irises are in bloom, but is quite beautiful and nearly empty the rest of the year.
shobuen-iris-cover

When I visited last Sunday, all the plants were covered in straw, ready for the winter. The idea is that the straw will attract bugs because it’s warmer, keeping them away from the plant itself. I’m not sure if it’s any more true than the popular pet-bottle theory of keeping cats away from your house or not, but it’s very attractive.

shobuen-tree-supporter

This straw-rope carousel is called a yukitsuri. It’s supposed to be to support the branches of the tree when they are covered in snow, but seeing as Tokyo only gets a light sprinkling of white stuff three or four times a year, I have an idea that they’re more ornamental now. There’s a good explanation of Yukitsuri at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ek20070220wh.html

The Horikiri Shobuen is near Horikirishobuen Station on the Keisei Railways main line. It’s a nice place to visit if you’re in the area, but probably not worth a long trip.

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