The Shogun’s Resting Place

Nikko is another popular escape for the city folks. Located north of Tokyo (2 hours by train), Nikko is famous for its historical sites and natural scenery (especially during autumn season).

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Among all of Nikko’s historical sites, the most famous is none other than Toshogu Shrine, final resting place of one of the most powerful shogun in Japanese history, Tokugawa Ieyasu. To house a man of such stature, Toshogu Shrine is indeed unlike any other shrine in Japan with buildings which are decorated with intricate and detailed carvings. It is indeed fit for a king.

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The Yomeimon Gate is probably the most famous structure within the shrine complex… UNFORTUNATELY it is currently under renovation and covered by scaffolding (apparently  until 2019). So, I didn’t even bother to take a photo. But here’s a Google image search link for your viewing pleasure.

During my visit, I noticed two carvings which attracted a great number of tourists lining up to take selfies photographs.

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The first one is the carving of the Three Wise Monkeys. “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” You’ve probably seen it somewhere before, in a book or poster. If you’ve ever wondered where the concept came from, well this is the place.

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And then there is the carving of a sleeping cat, the Nemuri-neko. It is said that the sculptor spent 8 months studying and perfecting his sculpting to make the Nemuri-neko as realistic as possible. I think he did a darn good job. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Passing the Nemuri-neko and climbing up a long flight of stairs will lead you to the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The area around the tomb feels quite different from the rest of the shrine complex. It’s not as heavily decorated and more minimalist in nature.

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And that’s a wrap for Toshogu Shrine. It’s a shame that the Yomeimon Gate is undergoing renovation but I think the rest of the shrine is still worth a visit.

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8 thoughts on “The Shogun’s Resting Place

    • Thank you for your kind words Draco. Indeed it is a well known location with a far reaching influence. I personally did not know the Three Wise Monkeys originated from this shrine until I was reading my travel guide the night before going to Nikko.

  1. Yeah, I’ve heard about the 3 monkeys coming from Japan Shinto ideas too!

    Awesome shots as usual Vincent! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, it makes me want to go to Japan all the more…which is confirmed our next trip, we are booking some places to eat in Tokyo, maybe catch you if you’re around?

    • Sure thing HB. But looking at how my project is progressing at the moment, I think it’s very likely I will be leaving sometime in December. Let’s see how it goes. Hope the planning for your trip is going well bro 🙂

  2. Wow! I love your fireworks very much! They are the most colourful ones I have seen and photographed so well.
    My next visit to Japan will be taking AA which will land in Nagoya. I must read back your posts for tips about neighboring towns and tourist places.

    • Thank you very much Twilight Man. The fireworks here are really colorful and beautiful. Some of them have shapes as well (like a flower) but I didn’t capture those very well.

      Wow Nagoya. I’ve never been there but would love to go. Unfortunately, considering my work schedule I can probably only make one last long distance trip before I leave Japan for good. Currently, Nagasaki is at the top of my list.

  3. the perspective on photo #2 is BREATHTAKING. but i also love the last two pics..

    you have some incredible talent with taking photos, Vincee. have you ever thought of building together a website to showcase your photography? (:

    • Yeah I’m always amazed at how these shrines are tucked away in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees so tall that I might hurt my neck from looking up. It’s really incredible.

      I don’t have any plans to build a webstie to showcase my work. For now, my blog is my happy place. Haha. I do upload some of my photos to 500px (http://500px.com/vincentckh). It’s like the social media of photography. Though I’ve had the unhappy incident of having someone plagiarize my work from 500px recently.

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