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  • Writer's picturelifeofandra

Zojoji Temple, Tokyo

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Zojoji Temple

Zojoji Temple

Zojoji is a Buddhist Temple of the Jodo Sect (Pure Land Sect). Located in Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan, it was founded in 1393 and has been in its present location since 1598.

After Tokugawa Ieyasu established his provincial government in Edo, Zojoji (増上寺) became the family temple for the Tokugawa family.

The temple grounds used to cover a larger area and included the mausoleum of the Tokugawa family, smaller temples and grammar schools, many of which burnt down during the Second World War's air raids.

Zojoji Temple

Zojoji Temple is open all year round from 6 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Admission is free.

It takes 1-2 hours to visit but it may take a bit longer if you want to see any of the ceremonies taking place there or during sakura season if you want to admire all the beautiful cherry trees scattered around the temple grounds.

Sangedatsumon - Main Gate

Zojoji Temple main gate

The impressive main gate, Sangedatsumon, dates back to 1622 and it was initially the inner gate of Zojoji. It is an Important Cultural Property and one of Tokyo's oldest wooden structures.

Daimon, Onarimon and Hamamatsuchō are the closest JR/Subway stations to the Main Gate - around a 10-12 minute walk.

Daibonsho - Big Bell

Zojoji Temple bell

As you walk through Sangedatsumon, a few steps away, on the right-hand side, you will find Daibonsho, a beautiful 3-metre tall bell.

The Bell dates back to 1673. It is one of the Big Three Bells of Tokyo (of the Edo period) and it is said to weigh 15 tonnes.

Zojoji Temple bell

Daiden - Main Hall

Zojoji Temple Hondo

The current reconstruction of the Hondo (main hall) is from 1974.

A large statue of Amida Buddha is enshrined in the main hall, alongside statues of Honen Shonin - the founder of Japan's Jodo Shu and Shan-tao the Great Teacher of Pure Land Buddhism.

inside Zojoji Temple

Tokyo Tower is only a 5-minute walk away, so my first visit to Zojoji Temple was followed by an amazing half-day at Tokyo One Piece Tower, which has since then, sadly closed.

Since I've previously visited Tokyo Tower, I decided to pair my latest visit to Zojoji with a trip to Hamarikyu Gardens.

I'm not happy that the One Piece indoor theme park is not there anymore but I have to admit Tokyo Tower still has a lot of events and attractions to offer, so if you happen to be in Tokyo, I would recommend you visit it also.

Zojoji Temple

I enjoyed visiting Zojoji Temple, and, since it's on my list of 'Top 20 Amazing Attractions to Visit in Tokyo', I think it's safe to say I highly recommend it.

Have you ever been to the Zojoji Temple? If yes, what was your experience like?

I hope life is treating you well.

Take care.

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