If you pay attention as you walk around Kyoto, you can find stone statues of Jizo, the guardian deity of travellers and children. These are neighborhood deities worshipped by the people of the community. Each area has its own Jizo statue and a Jizo festival every summer. You can make a wish in front of one of the Jizo during your walk!
Have you noticed Jizo statues on street corners here and there, while walking in Kyoto? Jizo were placed in each neighborhood to watch over the local children and insure their healthy development. Some sit in fine shrines, while others, with weather-beaten faces, are directly on the ground. Each has a unique character. It can be fun to wonder about the history of each of these unique stone characters as you explore Kyoto.
This Jizo statue at Sesshu-in is believed to have asked to be carried on a traveller's back as he passed through a valley. It asked to be put down at this place. It looked like an earthen statue, but after a wash, it turned out to be a wooden one. It was painted all over, which made us think it was made during the Edo period, but after being dismantled for repairs, it proved to be from the late Heian (794-1185) period.
This one meter high stone statue is known for answering prayers related to toothache. In a tiny shrine dedicated to this Jizo, there are piles of postcards from all over the country from people praying for relief from toothache.
At the end of Gohyaku Rakan (500 arhats), stone statues made by (stone) masons with Jakuchu Ito, a famous painter of the mid Edo period, produce,you will find a stone statue of a Jizo at "Sai-no-kawara" (the Children's Limbo) .
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