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Zōjō-ji Temple & Tokyo Tower 増上寺 & 東京タワー

Tokyo Tower & Zōjō-ji Temple
Tokyo Tower at night
1. Zōjō-ji Temple
2. Tokyo Tower
3. Hamamatsuchō

Shiba is a business district between Shimbashi, Roppongi and Shinagawa. Its two attractions are the Eifel-like Tokyo Tower, and the Zojo-ji Temple.

Zōjō-ji Temple

Properly known as the San'en-zan Kōdō-in Zōjōji (三緑山広度院 増上寺), this is the main temple of the Jōdō (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism established by Hōnen (法然) in 1175.

Zojoji was founded in 1393 and moved to its present site in 1598 by Tokugawa Ieyasu. It became the family temple of the Tokugawa family and an administrative center governing the religious studies and activities of Jōdō sect.

In its heyday, Zōjōji extended over an area of 826,000 m² and had 3000 priests and students of Buddhism dispersed over 48 minor temples and 150 schools on its precincts. It remains one of Japan's most important Buddhist temple.

The mausoleum of the 6 Tokugawa shōgun entombed there and several temples were destroyed by air raids during World War II.

Sangedatsumon 三解脱門

Zojoji's main gate was built in 1622 and designated by the State as important cultural property. It is one of the largest temple gate in Tokyo, measuring 21m in height, 28.7m in width and 17.6m in depth.

The name 'Sangedatsumon' means "gate delivering from three earthly states of man" (namely : greed, anger and stupidity).

Daiden (Main Hall) 大殿(本堂)

The Daiden (lit. Grand Palace) is the core of Zōjōji temple. It was rebuilt in 1974 and has a Muromachi period statue of Amida Buddha enshrined, along with Hōnen Shōnin (founder of the Jōdō sect) on its left and Shan-tao (who perfected Jōdō Buddhism) on its right.

Daibonshō 大梵鐘

The temple bell or "daibonshō" was cast in 1673. It is 3.33m high, weights 15 tons and is renowned as one of the Big Three Bells of the Edo Period.

Other buildings

The Kyozo (sutra storehouse) was built in 1613 and remodelled in 1800. The Sandaizōkyō (tripitaka), Daizōkyō (three principal collections of the Buddhist canon), Sō-ban and Gen-ban, used to be kept here, but are now stored in a newer building behind it.

Other buildings include the Kōshōden (lecture hall), Ankokuden and the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Shoguns.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is the highest construction in Tokyo (333m). It has two observatories, one at 150m, and the other one at 250m. Adults will pay ¥820 to access the first one, and additional ¥600 to reach the second.

Tokyo Tower also has a Wax Museum, Mysterious Walking Zone, Trick Art Gallery, shopping arcades and restaurants.

But the most interesting side attraction is probably the Tokyo Tower Aquarium and its 50,000 fish composed of 800 species.

Tokyo Tower is open all year round from 9am to 10pm. It can be accessed from Akabanebashi (Oedo line), Kamiyachō (Hibiya line), Onarimon (Mita line), Daimon (Asakusa & Oedo lines) or Hamamatsuchō (JR/Tokyo Monorail) stations.


Hamamatsuchō is mainly a big station on the JR Yamanote and Keihin-Tōhoku lines, Toei Oedo and Asakusa lines, and the Tokyo Monorail to go to Haneda Airport.

You will find Tokyo's unimpressive World Trade Center and lots of office builings, but nothing really interesting from a tourist point of view - although there are a few nightclubs and hotels around.

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