Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tokyo Tower and the Zoujou-ji Temple

There wasn’t much time left for visiting Tokyo since we were due to leave Wednesday. So apart from eating (a lot!) we went to Tokyo Tower. I have never seen it, but it appeared in some lectures of my Japanese text books, so I thought it would be worthwhile to go there, too. I was also intrigued how they would put an aquarium inside a tower built after the Eiffel tower in Paris.

Crepe display in front of Tokyo Tower (no this is not a vending machine, just a menu)
 Tokyo Tower is the highest building in Tokyo. And, with standing 333 m tall, even a couple of meters taller than the Eiffel Tower itself. However, to get to the second observatory they charged roughly 15 Euros – each. Since we didn’t have a lot of time to spend it wasn’t really worth going up on the tower and I couldn’t find the tiniest scrap of the aquarium :( .

Tokyo Tower
 Well, whatever, at least we saw it and we managed to go to the Zoujo-ji Temple (増上寺). We had a look at the famous Sangedatsu Gate (三解脱門). It is said that whence you walk through the gate you can free yourself from three passions: greed (貪),hatred (瞋), and foolishness (癡). I’m not really greedy and I’am not really hateful, but about the foolishness, well we’ll see…

Sangedatsu Gate at the Zoujo-ji
 The most intriguing thing was the huge line-up of jizou statues. Jizou is a well-loved divinity in Japan. You can quite often see a statue with the typical red bib around its neck. He is the guardian of the children, but even more so of the still-born, aborted or miscarried ones.

Jizou statues with bibs, toys and windmills
 Here is a nice haiku from Issa (小林一茶, 1763 – 1828)

The young sparrows

return into Jizou's sleeve

for sanctuary.

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