Sado jizo shrine

These photos are from a trip to the island of Sado in 2009, when I spent a couple of days driving around looking for places and people to feature in the travel story I was writing.

I found this shrine a short drive up into the hills. It is named “Nashinoki Jizo” after the tens of thousands of jizo statues in its grounds. Jizo is the Japanese name for the Buddhist Kstigarbha – statues of the deity are very common in Japan. There are even small jizo shrines on many residential streets in Tokyo.

Jizo is the guardian of children, particularly sick children, and in recent decades has been worshiped as the protector of stillborn, miscarried or aborted babies.

The Legend of the Humming of the Sai-no-Kawara, by Lafcadio Hearn (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

But lo! the teacher Jizô appears,
All gently he comes, and says to the weeping infants:
“Be not afraid, dears! be never fearful!
Poor little souls, your lives were brief indeed!
Too soon you were forced to make the weary journey to the Meido,
The long journey to the region of the dead!
Trust to me! I am your father and mother in the Meido,
Father of all children in the region of the dead.”
And he folds the skirt of his shining robe about them;
So graciously takes he pity on the infants.
To those who cannot walk he stretches forth his strong shakujô,
And he pets the little ones, caresses them, takes them to his loving bosom.
So graciously he takes pity on the infants.
Namo Jizo Bosatsu!

Men and women come from far away to dedicate jizo at this shrine. The statues they leave behind are made from stones taken from the sea. Over the decades many of them have been worn completely smooth again or have sunk down into the earth.


2 Responses to “Sado jizo shrine”

  1. Skye says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Sado. It looks like an amazing place. Thanks for sharing your images.

    Fantastic dof on the statue with the scarft – that’s a wonderful shot!

  2. tony says:

    Thanks Skye. Sado really is a special place. There are lots of other little discoveries like this shrine.

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