Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Matcha

Dec 8, 2016

A world heritage site, Nikko Toshogu Shrine was built to enshrine Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for over 260 years.

Most of the shrines in Japan have a similar style that emphasizes simplicity, but not Nikko Toshogu Shrine. With more than ten buildings on its grounds, this shrine's decoration is lavish and elaborate with gold leaf details and extensive wood carvings. There are also many heritage icons that you can find at the shrine, such as the Yomeimon Gate, the beautiful Five-storey Pagoda, the Nemurineko and the probably the most famous, the Three Monkeys. After all, most of us know the saying "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil" and many tourists visit Nikko Toshogu to check out the Three Monkeys. Now they've even been turned into emoticons on our smart phones!

Another interesting story about the shrine is about the Yomeimon Gate. When you reach the gate, you will see that one of the two pillars that are holding the gate are actually upside down. That's because Japanese superstition stated that anything perfect will anger the gods, leading to their destruction. So the pillars were placed upside down intentionally to keep the shrine 'flawed'.

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