zojo ji

“This is the Sō Mon (gate) of Zojo-ji Temple, in the Shiba is of Minato-ku, Tokyo. This is a classic Nio gate the one finds in front of most major Buddhist temples. “Nio” refers to the two fierce-looking Buddhist deities Agyō and Ungyō. Agyō is the one with his mouth open making an “ah” sound, carrying a mallet. Ungyō has his mouth sealed tight, as to not let good luck escape, making an “umm” sound. Zojo-ji is affiliated with the Jodo sect of Buddhism, which was founded by Honen Shonin in 1175. Zojo-ji was built in 1393, but Tokugawa Ieyasu moved it to its current site in 1598 as he began to build up the city of Edo. Zojo-ji became the patron temple of the Tokugawa and the final resting place for many of the shoguns—hence the temple and its gates are decorated with the hollyhock family crest of the Tokugawa clan."  Text and photography by Rekishi no Tabi on Flickr