protector

Kishibojin Temple in Zoushigaya (part 6)

The end of Eri’s walking tour was the magnificent Kishibojin temple. The buildings are old, pre-dating the war and probably the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, but most remarkable is a 30 meter high ginko tree with an 8 meter circumference said to be 600 years old. You can see it above surrounded on three sides by red gates.

Eri knows a lot about folklore, and explained that Kishibojin is a female diety who was originally a cannibalistic demon who repented and became a protector of children and women. She is known as Hariti in Sanskrit. In Japanese, the kanji for Kishibojin is a modified version of the character for “demon” (oni) missing a dot that symbolizes the horns that she lost during her conversion.

A famous street lined with Zelkova trees leads up to the temple.