Jizo is a popular Japanese deity believed to be the guardian of children, especially those who have died before their parents. In Japanese mythology, it is said that the souls of these children can't cross the mythical river Sanzu to reach the afterlife.

The children have to endlessly pile stones on the bank of this otherworldly river as penance, but it is believed that Jizo saves these souls by hiding them from demons in his robe. It is common for grieving parents to offer thanks and ask Jizo to protect their child by offering coloured bibs and caps at the small stone statues found in temples and by roadsides all over Japan.  

Small stones are also left as this is said to shorten the time the children need to pile stones. Jizo is also the patron of travellers.


Photos above are mine and were all taken in Tokyo and Kamakura.