Zojoji Temple, Minato, Japan

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.

 

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