Zojoji Temple 三縁山増上寺
Zojoji is a large temple adjoining Shiba Park in Minato ward, Tokyo, very near Tokyo Tower. Zozoji is the main temple of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism. Zojoji was founded as the sect's eastern Japan seminary in 1393 and was relocated to its present site in 1598 by Tokugawa Ieyasu - the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty.
Zojoji was once a massive complex containing 48 subsidiary temples, over 3000 priests and 150 temple schools. Times have changed and Zojoji now occupies but a fraction of its former area, with many of the buildings dating from the 1970's.
Zojoji was closely associated with the Tokugawa family that ruled Japan in the Edo Period 1603-1868, and is home to the mausoleums of six Tokugawa Shoguns and their family members behind the iron gate decorated with fearsome dragons.
Zojoji has a huge 21 meter (69 foot) high gate, the Sangedatsumon, dating from 1622, the only remaining part of the original temple and supposedly the oldest wooden structure in Tokyo.
Also of interest are:
-Daibonsho, a giant 15 ton bell cast in 1673 and tolled twice a day. It is just inside the grounds on the right after you enter the Sangedatsumon gate;
-the Himalayan cedar, between the Daibonsho bell and the Sangedatsumon gate, planted by General Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, when he visited the temple as a guest of the nation in 1879;
-stone jizo figures in rows, colorfully clothed and decorated, at the back of the temple on your right as you walk towards Tokyo Tower (see picture at bottom). Each is in memory of a child who has passed away before his or her parents.
Daimon Station on the Toei Asakusa and Oedo Subway Lines or Hamamatsucho Station on the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Lines. Hamamatsucho is also the terminus for Tokyo monorail trains to Haneda Airport.
4-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011.
Tel: 03 3432 1431
Google map of Zojoji Temple