JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - Minato-ku 港区
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Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns 徳川将軍家墓所837 viewsAfter 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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Gishisai: Kira's head strung on a spear is brought to Sengakuji temple.443 views
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Setsubun bean throwing at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo with Tamao-chan, Ai-chan, and Tochiazuma436 viewsAi-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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Leader of the 47 ronin, Oishi Kuranosuke goes in front of the Hondo hall and reported their successful capture of Kira.389 views
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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378 viewsAfter 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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Grave of loyal dog Hachiko and his master, Professor Ueno.357 views
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Tokyo Tower in the daytime.338 views
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After reporting to their lord, the group leaves the temple.321 views
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Large way going to the graves of the 47 ronin masterless samurai at Sengakuji temple. 四十七士墓所302 views
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View from Roppongi Hills.288 views
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Actress Nakamura Tamao ("Tamao-chan") and TV personality Françoise Moréchand.281 viewsHere'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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Kira's head presented to the Hondo hall. Also see my YouTube video here.277 views
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Sangedatsu-mon Gate (Sanmon) which is the temple's front gate. 三解脱門(三門)274 viewsThe 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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The Gishisai on Dec. 14 marks the day when the 47 loyal retainers attacked and beheaded Kira to avenge their master (Lord Asano) in 1702. They then marched to Sengakuji to present the head to their master's grave. This is reenacted annually.261 views
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Main entrance to Aoyama Cemetery during cherry blossom season in early April. Gaienmae Station (Ginza/Hanzomon Line) and Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda Line) are the closest subway stations.254 views
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First built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1612, Sengakuji temple belongs to the Zen Soto sect. This is the Chumon Gate, facing the south, the first gate most people pass through to enter Sengakuji temple. Reconstructed in 1836. 中門251 views
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Koshoden 光摂殿250 viewsKoshoden 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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Tamao-chan, Ai-chan, and Tochiazuma235 viewsNakamura Tamao (actress), Fukuhara Ai (table tennis player) and Ozeki Tochiazuma (sumo wrestler)
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Kataoka Shinwa, actor, throwing beans for setsubun at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin. 片岡信和229 views
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Tokyo Tower222 views
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People pushing and shoving. Pretty dangerous...219 views
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Zojoji, Daiden (Hondo) main hall with bean-throwing stage for Setsubun on Feb. 3. 大殿211 viewsDaiden (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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Priest and Fukuhara Ai (table tennis player)208 views
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Feb. 3 is Setsubun when many temples and shrines hold a mamemaki bean-throwing ceremony. The Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin is one temple worshipped by major sports and entertainment figures.208 views
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Grave of Lord Asano Naganori (Takumi-no-kami) (1667-1701) of Ako Province.206 views
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Aoyama Cemetery map. Quite complicated system to find grave plots.197 views
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Somon Gate 惣門194 views
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Memorial to the dogs who served in Antartica.194 views1 comments
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All hands193 views
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Somon Gate 惣門191 views
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Grave of Yoshida Shigeru, Japan's first postwar prime minister.176 views
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Zojoji Head priest171 views
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At the gate to enter the graves of the 47 ronin, they sell incense sticks. 四十七士墓所の門169 views
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Statue of Oishi Kuranosuke, leader of the 47 loyal retainers. He's looking (glaring) east toward Edo. The temple grounds also have the Ako Samurai Memorial Hall and the well where they washed Kira's head.154 views
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Ohbayashi Motoko, former Olympic volleyball player serving as a setsubun bean thrower at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin temple on Feb. 3, 2010.150 views
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Grave of Yoshida Shigeru 吉田茂の墓149 views
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View down from a glass floor on main observatory146 views
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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.145 views
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Graves of Robert Walker Irwin (rear, on the right) and his family. (Old photos of the graves.)142 views
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Two men playing a gagaku instrument called "sho." 笙140 viewsGagaku music is commonly associated with the Shinto religion. However, this Buddhist temple has been playing gagaku since long ago.
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Gishisai on Dec. 14: Headed by Oishi Kuranosuke, the 47 loyal retainers arrive Sengakuji temple.140 views
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The 47 masterless samurai then proceed to the nearby grave of their Lord Asano.139 views
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12:30 pm: Celebrity bean throwers 豆まき138 viewsHeaded 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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Ohbayashi Motoko, former Olympic volleyball player serving as a setsubun bean thrower at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin temple on Feb. 3, 2010.138 views
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136 views
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They cross the street full of cars. A Gishisai Festival is also held in Ako in Hyogo Prefecture.136 views
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An unkept grave.135 views
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Hondo temple hall. The original hall was destroyed during World War II. Reconstructed in 1953 in the Kamakura style. 本堂134 views
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Asano clan grave133 views
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The graves all have headstones with the loyal retainer's name on it and age at death.131 views
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Aoyama Cemetery office near the main entrance where you can obtain a map of the cemetery and ask where particular people are buried. The maps they provide do not show where the most famous people are (such as prime ministers).131 views
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Entrance to Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Gardens, a real oasis in an urban jungle. Another waterfront garden with classic Japanese-style elements with a pond, pine trees, rocks, and stone lanterns. 128 views
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Oishi Kuranosuke's grave128 views
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After the Chumon is the Sanmon Gate which is the temple's main gate. Reconstructed in 1832. 山門124 views
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Somon Gate 惣門122 views
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Tomb in the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns before it was open for public viewing.121 views
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Since it was during the Gishisai Festival on Dec. 14, banners are in front of the Hondo hall for the 47 loyal retainers of Ako. Read about it here.121 views
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List of foreigners buried in this Foreigner's Cemetery. Note that there also other foreigners buried in other parts of Aoyama Cemetery.121 views
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After the bean throwing, lots of people lined up to obtain good-fortune beans or fukumame. 福豆121 views
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Heading to their lord's grave.120 views
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During the Gishisai Festival in mid-Dec., the temple is especially crowded. This is the long line to enter the graves of the 47 loyal samurai retainers. The gravesite's gate up ahead was the back gate of the Ako estate in Tokyo. Later moved here.119 views
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Names are clearly written on wooden plaques.119 views
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11:45 am: Procession お練り118 viewsA 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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View of Hamamatsu-cho118 views
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Kyozo 経蔵117 viewsStorehouse 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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Path to the Hondo temple hall. 本堂117 views
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The gravestones all look alike. There is a map showing who is buried where.117 views
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Daibonsho temple gong 鐘楼堂116 viewsGiant 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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Grave of Edoardo Chiossone (1833-1898), an Italian who introduced printing technology (for money and stamps) to Japan. He loved Japan and amassed a huge collection of Japanese art, especially woodblock prints. The collection is donated to a Genova museum.116 views
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Daibonsho temple gong115 views
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Jiunkaku 慈雲閣115 views
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Incense burner114 views
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Inside the old Ankokuden 安国殿113 views
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Roppongi Hills at center112 views
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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.111 viewsThis is Feb. 3, 2006. 三門
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Gishisai lanterns.111 views
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Aoyama Cemetery has over 123,000 graves occupying 125,000 square meters within the cemetery land area of 263,564 sq. meters.111 views
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Foreigner's Cemetery 外国人墓地111 views
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Tamao-chan, Ai-chan, and Tochiazuma109 views
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After passing through Sangedatsu-mon Gate. Various memorials and monuments are all over the temple grounds.107 views
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Closeup of the gagaku instrument "sho." 笙107 viewsGagaku 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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On Feb. 3, 2006, went to see Setsubun bean throwing at Zojoji. Daiden (Hondo) main hall as we wait for the beans105 viewsI 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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Lastly is the ryuteki flute-like gagaku instrument. It makes a long, whining sound. 龍笛105 views
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Inside the old Ankokuden 安国殿105 views
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Jizo statues105 views
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Zojoji Temple105 views
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Soon after the 47 retainers committed seppuku on Feb. 4, 1703, they were buried here.105 views
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Entrance to Jizo statues104 views
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On the Gishisai day or anniversary of the attack on Kira, there is an extra amount of people and incense smoke.104 views
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Hama-rikyu Garden103 views
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Foreigner's Cemetery 外国人墓地102 views
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Grave of the family of Robert Walker Irwin (1844-1925), Hawaiian Minister to Japan. (Iron gate has since been removed.)101 views
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Special observatory (250 m high). When the wind blows, it sways.100 views
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Inside old Ankokuden 安国殿99 views
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People buy incense sticks at the gravesite gate and place incense at all the graves.99 views
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Next is the hichiriki, another gagaku instrument. The hichiriki makes a prolonged duck-call sound. 篳篥98 views
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The smoke can kill all the bugs in your fur or wool coat.98 views
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Ever since 1958 when Tokyo Tower was built, you could not photograph Zojoji without the tower.97 views
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The old Ankokuden 安国殿97 views
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Main observatory97 views
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Too hazy to see Mt. Fuji97 views
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A monument erected in March 2007 by Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro in appreciation of the foreigners who helped build Japan.97 views
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Gravestone of Edoardo Chiossone97 views
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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95 views
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Pile of incense in front of a grave.95 views
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Bean throwing 節分追儺式94 viewsFirst 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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Main observatory94 views
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Bird's eye view of Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Gardens as seen from Hamamatsu World Trade Center93 views
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Worshippers pile on the incense93 views
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Main observatory92 views
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Very thick smoke, but not suffocating. People with asthma or lung problems might want to avoid this.92 views
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From April 2015, Zojoji temple started allowing the public to view the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns.92 views
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This is the Foreigner's Cemetery where many foreigners who helped to modernize Japan are buried.91 views
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Elevator hall to go up the tower90 viewsThe stairway is also available up to the main observatory.
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Grave of Joseph Heco who was born Japanese (as Hamada Hikozo) but naturalized as a US citizen.90 views
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Procession of priests.89 views
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Children from the neighboring kindergarten.87 views
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Mochi throwing87 views
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Signs tell you where you are. Quite bewildering mapping system.87 views
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Grave of Joseph Heco86 views
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People born in the year of the dog.85 views
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Main hall85 views
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Main observatory85 views
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My mochi catch: For good fortune this year.85 views
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Cherry blossom tunnel at Aoyama Cemetery.85 views
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Bagged a bag of beans, to ward off bad luck and welcome good luck this year.84 views
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Children from the neighboring kindergarten.82 views
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11:45 am: Mochi pounding 餅つき80 views
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Ooohhh80 views
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For people on the left80 views
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Their year in 2006.77 views
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People on the right wait for the main event...77 views
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Missed bean bags on ground77 views
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Foot of tower77 views
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Foot of tower77 views
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Hand towel which fell onto my chest while I was not watching.77 views
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Catch of the day...76 views
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Security detail. There was a good number of policemen and security people, mainly to discourage pickpockets. 76 views
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Tokyo Tower from Shiba Park.76 views
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Tokyo Tower from Shiba Park.76 views
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People behind wait for the main event...75 views
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Tokyo Tower and weeping cherry blossoms in Shiba Park.75 views
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Children from the neighboring kindergarten.74 views
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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74 views
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Tokyo Tower and cherry blossoms in Shiba Park.74 views
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People on the left wait for the main event...73 views
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Should I pick it up from the ground?73 views
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Main thoroughfare, lined with cherry trees, cuts through the middle of the cemetery where cars whiz by. Quite irritating.71 views
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Cherry blossoms are so fleeting. They last for only a short time, like life itself. And so cherry blossoms are often found at cemetaries in Japan.66 views
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The buildings were destroyed in the Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and the property was donated to Tokyo in 1924 to commemorate the start of Emperor Showa's reign.65 views
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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64 views
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi63 views
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Next to the Daiden is this Ankokuden hall that was rebuilt in 2010. 安国殿62 viewsEnshrined 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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Grave of Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi 十四代家茂【昭徳院殿(しょうとくいんでん)】62 views
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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62 views
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Cherry blossoms and graves.61 views
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Daibonsho temple bell61 views
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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61 viewsEntombed 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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Tomb of Imperial Princess Kazunomiya60 views
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Pine trees and pond58 views
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Yukimi Stone Lantern58 views
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Zojoji temple's Daiden (Hondo) main hall ahead.58 views
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Jizo statues on the way to the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns.58 views
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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.58 views
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Photos of the old and magnificent Mausoleum, similar to the one in Nikko.58 views
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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)】58 views
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and wife Go (Ogo). The left sign indicates "Ogo" and right sign says, "Hidetada."58 views
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About the Daibonsho temple bell57 views
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Daiden57 views
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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)57 views
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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.57 viewsThe 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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Layout of Zojoji in the Meiji Period.57 views
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Tomb of Ogo, Hidetada's beloved wife.57 views
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada57 views
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Three more Tokugawa tombs.57 views
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Somon Gate, the front gate of the Taitoku-in mausoleum (lost in World War II air raids) for Tokugawa Hidetada. 台徳院霊廟惣門57 views
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These trees stood out.56 views
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About the Sangedatsu-mon Gate.56 views
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A few priests walked past.56 views
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About the Daiden (Hondo) main hall 56 views
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View from the Daiden, looking toward the Sangedatsu-mon Gate.56 views
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Nice cherry blossoms at Zojoji temple with Tokyo Tower in the background.56 views
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Tokugawa family crest on the door.56 views
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This is the public entrance to the Tokugawa Shogun graves at Zojoji temple. Admission is 500 yen.56 views
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ietsugu56 views
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Side view of Ieshige and Ieyoshi tombs.56 views
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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)】56 views
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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)】56 views
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Visited in late March 2015 during cherry blossom season.55 views
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Inside the new Ankokuden.55 views
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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.55 views
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55 views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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A total of 38 people are buried here. 55 views
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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)】55 views
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ietsugu55 views
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi55 views
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Side view55 views
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Kyu-Shiba-rikyu was first built in the 17th century and used as the residence of a number of nobles. Purchased from the Arisugawa family in 1875 by the Imperial Household Agency which made it the Shiba Detached Palace.54 views
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Maruyama Tumulus 丸山古墳54 views
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Zojoji, Daiden (Hondo) main hall was rebuilt in 1974.54 views
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Tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ieshige54 views
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Next to Zojoji is Shiba Park where there is Toshogu Shrine that used to be part of Zojoji.54 views
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Dry waterfall53 views
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Toshogu Shrine 東照宮53 views
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Toshogu Shrine53 views
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