NATIONAL PARK

NATIONAL PARK

Shoji Pond

The Shoji pond is located on the right side of National Highway No. 1, slightly downhill from Ashinoyu in the direction of Moto Hakone. Around Shoji pond are many important stone Buddhas, jizo and pagodas. Long ago this area was a desolate landscape with little vegetation and it was believed that this area was an incarnation of hell. Shoji Pond was considered to be a parting road to hell, or to the Tsuji “the Six Realms”. Buddhist cosmology typically identifies six realms of rebirth and existence: gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hells. It was believed that the area around Shoji Pond was likened to the riverbank of Sai-no-kawara, a riverbank in hell where souls were forced to stack stones along the Sai-no-kawara and the Jizo were protectors of these souls. This is one of the main reasons for the numerous Jizo stone statues in the area that date back centuries. Next to the lake is a hall with historical images of what hell was thought to have looked like.

shoji-pond