Nikko - 5/18/2004

Nikko - 5/18/2004

Tosho-gu Grand Festival

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Nikko

Nikko is a town north of Tokyo. It takes me an hour by subway to get to Asakusa, and then it's a 1:45 trip on the Tobu-Nikko line. Door to Temple it's just over 3 hours.

It is widely known for it's Tosho-gu Shrine, which serves as the mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616). He was the warlord who founded a dynasty that would rule Japan for over 250 years. It was when he built his capital in what was then a swampy village that Edo (now known as Tokyo) came to prominence.

The town of Nikko

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The Tosho-gu Grand Festival

Twice a year, May 18 and Oct 17, a parade is held where they take the 3 mikoshi (portable shrine) out of the Tosho-gu Shrine and out among the people. They have doing this as a parade for over 380 years. People today dress up the way they would have back then. It's officially a parade of 1000, but there were about 1200 in the parade this time.
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The Tosho-gu Shrine

This is incredibly ornate, with every possible surface decorated in some way. The small stable is covered with carvings of monkeys (the supposed guardians of horses), and one of them is claimed to be the original "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil" monkeys... there is also a sort-of famous carving of a sleeping cat... see below. All this was done in the 1600's (of course, they touch up the paint periodically)
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The actual mausoleum of the shogun.

The Futara-san and Taiuin-byo Shrines

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