Temple of the Tokugawa family
At Zojo-ji Temple, there are several opportunities a year to view the gravesite of the Tokugawa family and the shoguns of the Edo Era. Along with 6 shoguns, 38 wives and children are also buried there. There are rare items such as books of seal stamps containing the family tree and family crest of the Tokugawas. During these times, not only can you pay a visit to the gravesite but you will also be able to visit the Black Image of the Amida Buddha. The entrance to the temple has a main gate known as Sangedatsumon. Passing through this gate, it is said that you will be released from the 3 evil passions of greed, anger and stupidity. Even though it is a gate, it is also a wonderful 2-storey structure with the Shakyamuni Buddha and the 16 arhat disciples of Buddha enshrined on its upper floor (open to the public for limited times) that has an air of gravitas.
Events at Zojo-ji
As an event at Zojo-ji, there is the famous Setsubin Tsuina Shiki (ceremony to oust evil spirits at the end of winter). The annual February Setsubun festival is very lively. Lots of celebrities gather and there is also television coverage. Also, there is a monthly gathering to copy sutras on the 14th known as shakyoue. The sutras are recorded Buddhist teachings that are painstakingly copied down character by character. Through the transcriptions, the teachings are internalized. Even if the meaning is unknown, the soul is cleansed from the work of writing wholeheartedly within the stillness.
From the motto “Turn off the lights and have a slow night”, the Candle Nights began in 2003 with a million people participating annually in which the idea of switching off the electricity for 2 hours between 8 and 10 p.m. on the summer and winter solstices was advanced. Every year in June at Zojo-ji, there are events from 11 o’ clock in which live concerts and booths of every cooperative organization bring them alive. The customary illumination countdown for Tokyo Tower at 8 p.m. always impresses with its different views.