Jizo, Japan's Guardian of Travellers

Coming across Jizo while travelling in Japan

By Elena Lisina    - 2 min read

There is no way to know everything beforehand so travelling is often a lot about learning new things.

Many years ago I received a present from my Japanese friend - it was a very nice ceramic panel featuring three faces of ‘somebody’ unknown to me. I hung it on the wall as a decoration without knowing its meaning and only when in Japan did I learn that the image was of the deity Jizo, who, among other his other duties, takes care of travellers. Learning this, that present then became very meaningful for me.

I also recall seeing Jizo in Miyazaki Hayao's famous animated film, ‘Tonari no Totoro’ in the scene where the girls were caught in a heavy downpour and Satsuki asks the Jizo statue for shelter. So, when I came across a Jizo statue by the road in Japan, I already knew he was ‘my’ guardian for that trip. Afterwards, I came across Jizo quite often and always greeted them in a special way. Visiting Todaiji in Nara I purchased a small Jizo figurine whom I considered my good-luck charm.

Coming across a Jizo on your travels, offer it a prayer or two and ask for good luck in your trip!

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!