Nanzo-in Temple: Home of the Shibarare Jizo

This gem of a temple is home to one of the more unusual Buddhist saints – the Shibarare  (pronounced she-bah-rah-ray) Jizo. Legend has it that this saint has a gift for getting people out of tight spots, and the reason people tie a rope around it when asking for its help is a great story. (If you’re curious, you can read about it here, or watch a rakugo performance of the story in English!)

To ask for the Shibarare Jizo’s help, toss a hundred yen coin in the box by the ropes and take one.
Step up and tie your rope securely around the stone figure…
…then step back behind the offering box, toss another coin, and ask the Shibarare Jizo to grant your wish
When your wish comes true, return to the temple, make another offering to thank the Shibarare Jizo, untie one of the ropes and leave it in this bucket. Looks like he’s been busy lately!
The grounds of Nanzo-in aren’t extensive, but they’re beautifully landscaped with carefully pruned trees and cheerful animal statues set amid the greenery
If you’d like to ask the Jizo-san for another favor, buy one of these adorable ema prayer plaques and write your wish on the back before hanging it on the rack
It’s easy to spot this temple from the street, through its magnificent gate

Open: Every day

Hours: 9:00 – 16:00

Admission: Free


Just for fun, here are the eleven strangest shrines in Tokyo, with all the inside scoop on the resident gods’ superpowers

Click here for more

Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

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