Party Bodhisattva

Just because you’re a bodhisattva and charged with the un-small task of looking after children and travelers doesn’t mean you never get to kick off your sandals and party. This O-Jizo-sama at Zōjōji temple is ready to blow out the candles on his birthday cake (although he might need help, considering there would be over 1500 of them).

This one is wearing a homemade Little Red Riding Jizo costume

Someone was worried about this one catching a cold during the chilly Tokyo winter.

O-Jizo-sama is my favorite of the many images of Buddhism, but even though his statues are always kind and often cute, they make me a little sad too. There are hundreds and hundreds of them at Zōjōji dedicated to the souls of children who died before their parents. Families keep their traditional red bibs and caps bright, and regularly leave offerings; sometimes pinwheels, sometimes flowers, sometimes a warm winter coat.

If you’d like to visit the Zojo-ji temple the next time you’re in Tokyo, more pictures and a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

And just for fun, here are the eleven strangest shrines in Tokyo, with all the inside scoop on the resident gods’ superpowers

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