NEIGHBORHOOD O-JIZO SHRINES
O-Jizo was a buddhist monk who reached enlightenment, but instead of going to Nirvana he chose to remain on earth and help people. He is believed to be the protector of children and travelers, like a Japanese version of Saint Christopher. There are thousands small neighborhood O-Jizo shrines on roadsides in Japan. Some are as small as birdhouses, some are larger. Some are very simple, and some very ornate. They are cared for by members of the community where they stand, and you can usually see fresh flowers and maybe offerings of fruit or snacks on them.