PHOTO: Zojoji Temple Complex in Tokyo, Japan

Main Hall at Zojoji Temple complex in Tokyo, Japan

Zojoji Temple is a mere shadow of the complex that once stood on the present day site in Tokyo, Japan. In past centuries, 3,000 priests lived there, working and praying in more than 48 temples and 150 schools.

Zojoji Temple is, however, still home to the mausoleums of six Tokugawa Shoguns and their family members. It’s 69-foot high entrance gate is the oldest wooden structure in Tokyo and the only remaining part of the original temple. The complex is also famous for its giant 15-ton bell, which is rung twice a day. Also of note are its stone jizo figures, which sit in endless rows on the perimeter of the grounds. Each of these small stone figures has been placed there by a parent as a memorial to a child who passed away.

For me, however, the most spectacular part of the Zojoji Temple complex was the Main Hall. Its highly polished marble floor reflected a mirror image of the lavishly decorated altar. I was mesmerized by this study in black and gold, which so effectively symbolizes the opposite sides of human nature.

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