JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.

Image search results - "jodo-shu"
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On the left of the road is the path to Rengeji temple.
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Path to Rengeji temple.
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Smack dab in front of Rengeji temple is this monstrosity that is the Meishin Expressway.
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Right after passing under the Meishin Expressway, you see Rengeji's Sanmon Gate. 蓮華寺 山門
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Rengeji is famous as the place where Hojo Nakatoki 北条仲時 and over 430 of his men committed suicide after being defeated by Ashikaga Takauji's forces during the fall of the Kamakura shogunate in 1333. This is a monument for this tragic event.
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On the left of the Sanmon Gate is the "River of Blood." When Hojo Nakatoki and 430 of his men slit themselves on May 9, 1333, the blood became a river flowing here. It was during the Genko War when the Emperor Go-Daigo fought the Kamakura shogun
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"River of Blood" sign. In charge of national security, Hojo Nakatoki was the last Rokuhara Tandai Kitakata chief from the Hojo clan in the Kamakura shogunate. When tourists see this sign, they become scared to enter the temple.
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Rest assured, it's very peaceful in the temple. Rengeji's Sanmon Gate (right) and bell tower on left.
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Wooden insignia on Sanmon Gate with the Imperial crest on the left. The temple was originally founded by Prince Shotoku Taishi about 1,300 years ago. He named it Horyuji 法隆寺. After being struck by lightning, it was rebuilt in 1284.
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Rengeji temple belongs to the Jodo-shu Buddhist sect. The founding priest was Saint Ikko. With support from the lord of Kamaha Castle near Bamba, he was able to rebuild the temple and renamed it Rengeji. 一向上人
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Rengeji Hondo Hall, Banba-juku, Maibara, Shiga. Quite a few emperors favored this temple. The 95th Emperor Hanazono (1297-1348) gave the temple an Imperial sanction to receive Imperial prayers. Hence, the temple's Imperial crest. 蓮華寺
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Until 1943, the temple was a dojo for the Jishu Ikko sect. It then converted to Jodo-shu. Admission is charged, I think 300 yen. There's a unmanned collection box near the entrance.
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Red plum blossoms in front of Rengeji Hondo Hall, in early April.
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Inside Rengeji Hondo Hall, left altar.
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Inside Rengeji Hondo Hall, main altar at the center. There are two figures: Amida Nyorai and Shaka Nyorai. Jodo-shu Buddhist sect. 蓮華寺 本堂
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Inside Rengeji Hondo Hall, main altar at the center. 蓮華寺 本堂
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Inside Rengeji Hondo Hall, right altar.
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Rengeji Hondo Hall's framed nameplate. The temple's name was written by Emperor Go-Mizunoo (1596–1680).
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This is the area where Hojo Nakatoki and his men committed seppuku.
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Bell tower. Cast during the time of Saint Ikko, the bell is an Important Cultural Property.
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Inside is a Jizo-son statue worshipped for transportation safety.
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Memorial for victims of the Pacific War.
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Monument for a poem by Saito Mokichi (1882-1953). 斉藤茂吉の歌碑 「松風の音を聞くときは 古への 聖の如く 我は寂しむ」
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Grave of the lord of Kamaha Castle who helped to rebuild the Rengeji temple.
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Way to the graves of Hojo Nakatoki and his men who committed suicide.
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A few steps up a slope.
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Memorial for Hojo Nakatoki and his men. They had lost to Ashikaga Takauji in the battle at Kyoto and were trying to escape to Kamakura, but was caught by Takauji's forces at Bamba.
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Over 430 gravestones. Hojo Nakatoki and his men were besieged in Bamba by Southern Imperial Court forces. They fought back, but lost and slit their bellies in front of Rengeji's Hondo main hall.
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The temple's third priest wrote the names and age (youngest was 14) of the known fallen warriors in a scroll. He also made these gravestones for them. Visuallly, it's very impressive edifice.
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Graves of Hojo Nakatoki and his men from the Rokuhara Tandai. 北条仲時一行の墓
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The gravestones have five levels. In fall, the surrounding maple leaves turn blood red.
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There are more steps which lead to graves of temple priests and Saint Ikko's mausoleum.
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Graves of previous temple priests.
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Mausoleum of Saint Ikko Shunsho.
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Small mausoleum for Saint Ikko. 一向上人の御廟
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Side of the Hondo
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Behind the Hondo hall is a small hill with the Bamba Chutaro Jizo-son statue.
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Bamba Chutaro Jizo-son statue, based on a character in the novel "Mabuta-no-Haha" 瞼の母 by Hasegawa Shin (1884-1963) 長谷川伸. 番場忠太郎
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View behind the Hondo.
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Also behind the Hondo is this Ikko-sugi tree, 700 years old. Named after the temple's founding priest Saint Ikko, it was planted where Ikko was cremated. Over 30 meters high and 5 meters wide. 一向杉
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Temple garden. Best during spring when the flowers bloom.
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View from Hondo hall.
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Eikando is a Jodo-shu Buddhist temple famous for autumn foliage, especially red maples. One of Kyoto's most photogenic spots for fall leaves.
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When you first enter Eikando temple in Kyoto, this is what you see. A hint of more to come.
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This path of maples would be redder a several days earlier. Path to Miei-do Hall.
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Everywhere you look in Eikando is so utterly photogenic, or should I say paint-genic since they didn’t have cameras when the temple was built. Everywhere looks like a scene from a classic Japanese painting.
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Even the shape and placement of the trees are so artistic.
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Eikando temple, Kyoto
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Whoever landscaped or designed the temple grounds was an artistic genius.
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Main entrance to the temple.
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Courtyard garden
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Courtyard garden seen from the Shaka-do Hall.
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Courtyard garden seen from the Shaka-do Hall.
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Roof of the Mieei-do Hall.We were not allowed to photograph inside the temple buildings.
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Amida-do Hall
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Amida-do Hall
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Temple bell
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Yasuragi Kannon at Eikando
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Yasuragi Kannon statue at the bottom of the steps of Amida-do Hall.
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Miei-do Hall (Daiden)
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Miei-do Hall (Daiden)
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Hojo-ike Pond. Notice the two-story pagoda (Tahoto) in the distance.
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Hojo-ike Pond. The two-story pagoda (Tahoto) in the distance.
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The two-story pagoda (Tahoto) is a short climb up the stairs. Worth the view.
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View from the two-story pagoda on the hillside. This would be a sea of red during the peak period. I have to come back here.
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View from the two-story Tahoto pagoda on the hillside at Eikando.
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Bridge to Benten-shima on Hojo-ike Pond.
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Bridge to Benten-shima on Hojo-ike Pond.
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Miei-do Hall in the distance.
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Gasen-do Hall
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Gasen-do Hall
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Eikando
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Bridge to Benten-shima on Hojo-ike Pond.
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Bridge to Benten-shima on Hojo-ike Pond.
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Eikando
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JPN Cafe
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They also had a rest area where they served tea and sweets amid the foliage. Brisk business.
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Eikando
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Eikando
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Eikando, Kyoto
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I was a few days too late to see the peak. Will return again in autumn.
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Zojoji Temple is the head temple of the Jodo-shu Buddhist sect and best known as the temple of the Tokugawa shoguns. 大門After Tokugawa Ieyasu started to rule the Kanto region, he designated Zojoji as the family temple of the Tokugawa clan. The temple was expanded during the same time Edo Castle was being built.

Zojoji then came to be known as one of Japan's principal Buddhist temples. The temple grounds have many buildings, monuments, and the tombs of six Tokugawa Shoguns, Imperial Princess Kazunomiya (wife of Shogun Iemochi), and wives and children of shoguns.

Zojoji Temple is a short walk from Onarimon Station on the Mita subway line, Daimon Station on the Toei Oedo and Asakusa subway lines, and JR Hamamatsu-cho Station. This photo shows Daimon Gate on the road to the temple.
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Sangedatsu-mon Gate (Sanmon) which is the temple's front gate. 三解脱門(三門)The main gate to enter the temple fronts a busy road. Important Cultural Property. "Sangedatsu" means to be released from the three earthly states of mind: greed, anger and stupidity. Walk through this gate and maybe this might happen to you.
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Sangedatsu-mon Gate with notices saying that table tennis player Fukuhara Ai and Ozeki Tochiazuma will be bean throwers for Setsubun.This is Feb. 3, 2006. 三門
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About the Sangedatsu-mon Gate.
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After passing through Sangedatsu-mon Gate. Various memorials and monuments are all over the temple grounds.
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Main hall in the distance with Tokyo Tower in the background. If you visit Zojoji, you might as well visit Tokyo Tower as well. Just a short walk from the temple.
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Daibonsho temple gong 鐘楼堂Giant bell with a diameter of 1.76 meters, height of 3.33 meters and a weight of 15 tons. Known as one of the Big Three Bells of the Edo Period. The bell is rung twice a day, in the early morning and in the evening. 鐘楼堂
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Daibonsho temple gong
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Daibonsho temple bell
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About the Daibonsho temple bell
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A few priests walked past.
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Visited in late March 2015 during cherry blossom season.
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Zojoji temple's Daiden (Hondo) main hall ahead.
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Zojoji, Daiden (Hondo) main hall was rebuilt in 1974.
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Zojoji, Daiden (Hondo) main hall with bean-throwing stage for Setsubun on Feb. 3. 大殿Daiden (Hondo) is the temple's main worship hall. It was rebuilt in 1974. Enshrined inside is a large main image (honzon) of Amida Buddha (made during the Muromachi Period), with an image of Great Teacher Shan-tao (who perfected China's Jodo (Pure Land) Buddhism) on the right and an image of Honen Shonin (founder of Jodo-shu sect in Japan) on the left. On Feb. 3, the bean-throwing stage was set up in front.
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About the Daiden (Hondo) main hall
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Daiden
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View from the Daiden, looking toward the Sangedatsu-mon Gate.
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Next to the Daiden is this Ankokuden hall that was rebuilt in 2010. 安国殿Enshrined is the Black Image of Amida Buddha, which was worshiped by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. This image is said to have repeatedly saved Ieyasu from dangers and enabled him to win battles. Since the Edo Period, it has been revered as a Buddhist image bringing victory and warding off evil.
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Inside the new Ankokuden.
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The old Ankokuden 安国殿
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Inside the old Ankokuden 安国殿
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Inside the old Ankokuden 安国殿
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Inside old Ankokuden 安国殿
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Inside old Ankokuden. A picture of Yokozuna Taiho from the 1960s. I wonder why they had it there. 安国殿
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Columbarium built in 1933. One of the few structures that was not destroyed during World War II. 大納骨堂(舎利殿)
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Nice cherry blossoms at Zojoji temple with Tokyo Tower in the background.
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From April 2015, Zojoji temple started allowing the public to view the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns.
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Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns 徳川将軍家墓所After Tokugawa Ieyasu started to rule the Kanto region, he designated Zojoji as the family temple of the Tokugawa clan. The Mausoleum has the tombs of six Tokugawa Shoguns (the 2nd shogun Hidetada, 6th shogun Ienobu, 7th shogun Ietsugu, 9th shogun Ieshige, 12th shogun Ieyoshi, and 14th shogun Iemochi), Imperial Princess Kazunomiya (wife of Shogun Iemochi), and wives and children of shoguns. A total of 38 people are buried here.
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This is the main entrance to the Tokugawa Shogun graves, but it is closed to the public. We entered through a smaller door.
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Tokugawa family crest on the door.
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This is the public entrance to the Tokugawa Shogun graves at Zojoji temple. Admission is 500 yen.
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The Tokugawa Shogun graves at Zojoji temple is a rectangular site enclosed by a wall and lined with cherry blossoms with Tokyo Tower in the background.
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増上寺は、上野の寛永寺(霊廟非公開)と共に徳川家の菩提寺で、当山に埋葬されているのは、2代秀忠、5代将軍兄弟の綱重、6代家宣、7代家継、9代家重、12代家慶、14代家茂の6人の将軍の他、女性では将軍正室として2代秀忠夫人崇源院、6代家宣夫人天英院、11代家斉夫人広大院、13代家定夫人天親院、14代家茂夫人静寛院の5人、将軍の側室としては3代家光の桂昌院、6代家宣の月光院など5人、その他、将軍の子女を含む計38人であります。
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Opposite end of the Tokugawa Shogun grave site. They used to have much more elaborate Mausoleum, but it was destroyed in World War II.The Mausoleum has the tombs of 2nd shogun Hidetada, 6th shogun Ienobu, 7th shogun Ietsugu, 9th shogun Ieshige, 12th shogun Ieyoshi, and 14th shogun Iemochi, Imperial Princess Kazunomiya (wife of Shogun Iemochi), and wives and children of shoguns.
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A total of 38 people are buried here.
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Photos of the old and magnificent Mausoleum, similar to the one in Nikko.
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Layout of Zojoji in the Meiji Period.
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Here are photos of all the tombs going around the site in a clockwise direction. First is Goshi or a joint tomb. 合祀(ごうし)塔Entombed here are the wives and children of Tokugawa shoguns, including: 1. Tokugawa Tsunashige, a son of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, 2. Keishōin, a concubine of Iemitsu and mother of Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, 3. Kodaiin, the wife of Shogun Tokugawa Ienari, 4. Gekkoin, a concubine of Tokugawa Ienobu and mother of Shogun Tokugawa Ietsugu.
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Grave of Imperial Princess Kazunomiya (wife of Shogun Iemochi) who wanted to be next to her husband. 静寛院和宮
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Tomb of Imperial Princess Kazunomiya
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Grave of Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi 十四代家茂【昭徳院殿(しょうとくいんでん)】
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ienobu 六代家宣【文昭院殿(ぶんしょういんでん)】
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and wife Go (Ogo). 二代秀忠【台徳院殿(たいとくいんでん)】お江
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and wife Go (Ogo). The left sign indicates "Ogo" and right sign says, "Hidetada."
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Tomb of Ogo, Hidetada's beloved wife.
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada
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Three more Tokugawa tombs.
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ietsugu 七代家継 【有章院殿(ゆうしょういんでん)】
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ietsugu
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ietsugu
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Side view of Ieshige and Ieyoshi tombs.
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ieshige 九代家重 【惇信院殿(じゅんしんいんでん)】
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ieshige
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi 十二代家慶 【慎徳院殿(しんとくいんでん)】
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi
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Side view
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Tomb in the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns before it was open for public viewing.
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Entrance to Jizo statues
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Jizo statues
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Kyozo 経蔵Storehouse for sutra texts. Originally built in 1613 with the financial aid of Tokugawa Ieyasu and renovated and relocated here in 1800. It has an octagonal-shaped with revolving bookshelves in the center.
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Jiunkaku 慈雲閣
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Koshoden 光摂殿Koshoden is a lecture hall and seminary for “cleansing soul and fostering the vigor to live” as we face the 21st century. The coffered ceiling of the large hall has beautiful paintings of flowering plants, donated by 120 pious Japanese artists.
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Ever since 1958 when Tokyo Tower was built, you could not photograph Zojoji without the tower.
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On Feb. 3, 2006, went to see Setsubun bean throwing at Zojoji. Daiden (Hondo) main hall as we wait for the beansI was at the front and center. A good place to catch beans, but not very good for picture taking.

大殿
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11:45 am: Procession お練りA long procession of priests, children, and people born in the year of the dog (2006 was the year of the dog) were in the parade.

お練り  午前11時45分〜  開山堂〜三門〜安国殿
餅つき  午後11時55分〜  於:特設舞台
祈 願  午後12時05分〜  於:安国殿
鬼問答  午後12時15分〜  於:特設舞台
豆まき  午後12時30分〜  於:特設舞台
大〆め  午後12時50分〜  於:特設舞台
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Procession of priests.
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Two men playing a gagaku instrument called "sho." 笙Gagaku music is commonly associated with the Shinto religion. However, this Buddhist temple has been playing gagaku since long ago.
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Closeup of the gagaku instrument "sho." 笙Gagaku music is commonly associated with the Shinto religion. However, this Buddhist temple has been playing gagaku since long ago. The sho is a wind instrument making that long, drawling, ghostly haunting sound.
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Next is the hichiriki, another gagaku instrument. The hichiriki makes a prolonged duck-call sound. 篳篥
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Lastly is the ryuteki flute-like gagaku instrument. It makes a long, whining sound. 龍笛
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Children from the neighboring kindergarten.
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Zojoji Head priest
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Children from the neighboring kindergarten.
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Children from the neighboring kindergarten.
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People born in the year of the dog.
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Their year in 2006.
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11:45 am: Mochi pounding 餅つき
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Mochi throwing
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My mochi catch: For good fortune this year.
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Bean throwing 節分追儺式First they had people born in the year of the dog throwing small bags of soybeans. They also had one person in a candybox outfit to advertise one of the sponsors who supplied some of the treats they threw to us. Zojoji threw not only beans, but all kinds of little things like tissue paper, towels, toys, potato chips, and candy.
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Catch of the day...
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12:15 am: Devil out! Fortune come in! Kindergarten kids throw beans at an orge to drive out evil and bring in good fortune. 鬼問答
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People on the left wait for the main event...
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People on the right wait for the main event...
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People behind wait for the main event...
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12:30 pm: Celebrity bean throwers 豆まきHeaded by Nakamura Tamao (actress), Fukuhara Ai (table tennis player) and Ozeki Tochiazuma (sumo wrestler), a large number of famous people did the honors.

Here's a Japanese list of the celebrities who threw beans this day:

栃東 関(角界)、福原 愛(女子卓球)、渡部 絵美(元フィギュアスケート選手)、大塚 文雄(民謡歌手)、川野 太郎(俳優)、大谷 晋二郎(プロレスラー)、佐藤 耕平(プロレスラー)、日高 郁人(プロレスラー)、藤田 ミノル(プロレスラー)、大至 伸行(歌手)、水谷 八重子(女優)、川田 公子(みやらび太鼓)、すずき 円香(歌手)、桂 小金治(落語家)、パンツェッタ・ジローラモ(タレント)、武田 幸三(キックボクサー)、わたせ せいぞう(漫画家)、山野愛子ジェーン(山野学苑校長)、中村 玉緒(女優)、岡田 茉莉子(女優)、松旭斉 八重子(マジシャン)、中野 俊彦(松旭斉さん共演)、
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Actress Nakamura Tamao ("Tamao-chan") and TV personality Françoise Moréchand.Here's a Japanese list of the celebrities who threw beans this day:

フランソワ・モレシャン(タレント)、中島 ゆたか(タレント)、川原 多美子(モデル)、秋本 裕希(モデル)、山内 麻美(モデル)、玉川 スミ(落語家)、池田 綾子(歌手)、三笑亭 可楽(落語家)、春風亭 小柳枝(落語家)、三笑亭 夢太朗(落語家)、桂 米助(落語家)、柳亭 楽輔(落語家)、春風亭 鯉昇(落語家)、翁屋 喜楽(落語家)、鏡味 健二郎(太神楽)、神田 ひまわり(講談)、金原亭 伯楽(落語家)、吉原 朝馬(落語家)、金原亭 馬生(落語家)、金原亭 世之介(落語家)、初音家 左橋(落語家)、金原亭 小駒(落語家)、市山 松扇(歌舞伎舞踊)、市山 松翁(歌舞伎舞踊)、市山 松之助(歌舞伎舞踊)、市山 扇之助(歌舞伎舞踊)、市山 竹紫郎(歌舞伎舞踊)、市山 竹松(歌舞伎舞踊)、市山 翔(歌舞伎舞踊)
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Tamao-chan, Ai-chan, and Tochiazuma
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Setsubun bean throwing at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo with Tamao-chan, Ai-chan, and TochiazumaAi-chan was really cute and seemed to be having a great time throwing the beans. Nakamura Tamao (actress), Fukuhara Ai (table tennis player) and Ozeki Tochiazuma (sumo wrestler)
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Tamao-chan, Ai-chan, and TochiazumaNakamura Tamao (actress), Fukuhara Ai (table tennis player) and Ozeki Tochiazuma (sumo wrestler)
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Priest and Fukuhara Ai (table tennis player)
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People pushing and shoving. Pretty dangerous...
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All hands
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For people on the left
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Ooohhh
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Should I pick it up from the ground?
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Bagged a bag of beans, to ward off bad luck and welcome good luck this year.
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Hand towel which fell onto my chest while I was not watching.
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Missed bean bags on ground
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Security detail. There was a good number of policemen and security people, mainly to discourage pickpockets.
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