Tokyo in Pics

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A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Tokyo has a golden goddess

During one of my solo photowalks, I was walking from Rikugien to Yanaka cemetery which is quite a walk, about twenty minutes. Along one road, I looked to my left, into a temple, and a glint of gold caught my eye. I stopped, looked towards that glint and took another step. In front of me I saw a huge statue, of the Goddess Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It was quite an impressive statue. Probably about ten metres high looking out over the cemetery and the temple. A real Golden Goddess!

Zenshoan is not a place I know a lot about, but I did discover that it was founded by Yamaoka Tesshu, a famous samurai during the Edo period. You can find his grave in the cemetery at the rear of the temple. Near his grave you will find the resting place of another celebrity from his time, Sanyutei Encho, a famous rakugo artist.

The grave of Yamaoka Tesshu

The grave of rakugo artist, Sanyutei Encho

At the time of my visit, I had no idea that the temple was also famous for its collection of yurei (ghost) paintings. Apparently they are put on public display each August which should give me the chance to see them.

The temple of Zenshoan in Tokyo’s Taito ward

If you are into buddhism and want to see a golden goddess, you should put Zenshoan on your bucket list. It’s not too far from Yanaka cemetery and Yanaka Ginza, so you could easily combine all three in one visit.