The Saviour of Souls

It wasnt until after I had taken loads of pictures in this temple of the little buddah-like statues that I learnt their true meaning. This is Ojizō-sama, or Jizō: The Saviour of Souls. He is the guardian of children who have died before their parents’ deaths. Here, each of the 180+ statues represents a soul. Im still not sure why the main Jizō had a black head-covering and why one of the ones on the left had a pink covering. If anyone out there knows please do let me know.

This particular Jizō temple is at the Kiyomizu-dera shrine in Kyoto, Japan.

August 10, 2009 | 9 comments
D700 Japan

EXIF: Aperture: ƒ/2.8 | Exposure bias: -2/6EV | Focal length: 44mm | ISO: 200 | Shutter speed: 1/25s |


  • Bob on 10.08.2009 @ 12:22

    I was wondering when we were going to see some Buddhas from your trip to Japan. And you have not disappointed.

  • frisky on 10.08.2009 @ 12:24

    @Bob: Haha! Yea, I did take loads of pics of Buddhas but frankly since this kind of photography is not my thing, I never know if they are good enough to post. However, since I want to document my trip to Japan, I wanted to post this shot cuz this temple really moved me.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Otto K. on 10.08.2009 @ 19:46

    how touching.

  • Mike Dougan on 10.08.2009 @ 21:32

    Very nice composition, I like the green against the grey stone and the coloured hat's and bib's on the statues.

    I'd assume the hat's are made by parents who have lost a child and that pink was that childs favourite colour.

    I can spend hours is a Buddhist temple, they are so peaceful yet also welcoming.

  • pernilla on 11.08.2009 @ 01:21

    A very touching picture. Like the contrast between the light and shadow.

  • John Maslowski on 11.08.2009 @ 07:44

    Interesting narrative, amazing the number of statues. Beautiful capture, the red colors are fascinating in this image.

  • rian on 11.08.2009 @ 08:16

    now that explains why they have bibs on.. :) i like the serene mood here.. very nice shot.. :)

  • matt on 11.08.2009 @ 11:53

    i especially like the ones in the shadows.

  • SD (Aspherical) on 13.08.2009 @ 19:16

    Love the lighting on this - the way the white collars stick out in the middle third of the photo is extremely cool and arresting.