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Yokoso Japan: Toshogu Shrine

To eternal peace...
 
Toshogu Shrine
 
Ieyasu Tokugawa was born in the warring states period. He survived the chaos, and unified the entire country. Ieyasu was assigned as Seii-taishogun (Great generalissimo) in 1603 and opened the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo).
He watched the whole nation even after he retired. Ieyasu left last instruction, which was about after the death. His last message was for the eternal peace. He said as follows:
 
"Enshrine my dead body in Mt.Kuno (His hometown in Shizuoka prefecture) for the first year of the death. (Omission) And built a small shrine in Nikko and enshrine me as the God. I will be guardian of Japan."
 
Ieyasu died on April 17th, 1616, when he was 75 years old. Shrine was built in Nikko and divine designation "Tosho-Daigongen" was given by Imperial court. He was enshrined in accordance with his last will. Ieyasu aimed to be the guardian of Japan.
 
Nikko is located on the north direction of Edo, wher Tokugawa government was opened. Northern sky is the center of universe and stars turn focusing on the polestar. In this sense, people also live in accordance with the rule. This is the ideal society that Ieyasu aimed.
 
According to the last instruction, Ieyasu wanted to be enshrined in "small" shrine, but the third successive shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa rebuilt it to the gorgeous shrine. Today, many tourists visit there to see the artistic building, which was built in the early Edo period. However, this is not just bright architectures of spiritual animals, famous sleeping cat, Chinese legend are related to peace coming.
 
In this point of view, Toshogu Shrine is a symbol of peace. You might find the reason why a sculpture or painting is put on a certain place of each building. Moreover, you will enjoy watching artistic works of spiritual animals and nature.
 
HOW TO GET TO Toshogu Shrine, NIKKO
 
Nikko is located abot 125 kilometers north of Tokyo and makes a good one or two day trip from Tokyo. Nikko is connected with Tokyo by Tobu Railways and Japan Railways.

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