The statue of Sakyamuni and the sixteen arhats are secretly placed on the upper part of the Sangedatsu-mon gate of Zojo-ji

Arhat statues enshrined at the Sangedatsu-mon Gate
Arhat statues enshrined at the Sangedatsu-mon Gate
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Every time I came to Zojo-ji, I wondered how the large wooden gate had survived. The Sangedatsu-mon gate of Zojo-ji, which faces Hibiya-dori Avenue, was built in 1622. Since then, it has stood here for 400 years, undamaged by natural disasters such as the Ansei Earthquake (1850s) and the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923), as well as man-made disasters such as air raids during World War II. This is amazing. Although the wooden structure is susceptible to fire, it was not caught in a fire caused by an earthquake, nor was it ignited by incendiary bombs dropped by B-29s. In fact, most of the grand structures of the Tokugawa family mausoleum, which was also located within the precincts of Zojo-ji Temple, were destroyed by fire during World War II, and very little remains.

On that day, as I passed through the vermilion gate as if looking up, I saw a sign that I usually do not see. It said that the inside of the upper part of the gate, which is normally closed to the public, was open to the public. Although I was not aware of it because I had always just passed through the gate, it was certainly not surprising that there was room to climb inside the big gate. It is just that it is not allowed to climb up, but the view from the top of the gate must be nice if I climbed up. So I paid the entrance fee and climbed up to the top of the gate. It was the first time in 11 years that the inside of the top of the gate was open to the public. If I missed this opportunity, I did not know when the next time would be.

Climbing the steep stairs, I was soon greeted by the three statues of Sakyamuni and the sixteen arhats. The photo shows part of the sixteen arhat statues. Usually the arhats sit still in the darkness, but on this day they seemed to be in high spirits as they greeted the many visitors. Unlike the arhat statues, however, I was a little disappointed that the view from the top of the tower was not as interesting as I had expected.

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Shooting Date

Nov 2022

Posted On

February 14, 2023

Modified On

August 9, 2023


Shiba, Tokyo


Still Life Photography





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