Toshogu Memorial Shrines

. Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康 . (1543 - 1616) .

Toshogu Shrines,
Memorial Monuments for Tokugawa Ieyasu
東照宮 徳川家康

.......................... 1543 - 1616

. Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康 . (1543 - 1616) .
- Introduction -

Tokugawa Ieyasu is the founder of the Edo Shogunate, he was the first shogun and osthumously became some kind of protecting deity with his own shrine in the Nikko Mountains, north of Tokyo (an auspicious place to protect his city according to Chinese Feng-Shui Geomantic lore).
The correct spelling of the name should be Tooshoo-Guu in Nikkoo.

You can read more about the heroes who were active around 1600 to unite the many fiefdoms of Japan, the three most famous of them are Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and our Ieyasu.

For our Haiku friends, here is the famous story to shed light on the temperament of these three:
When confronted with a nightingale in a cage, which would not sing, each had his own approach to this situation.

If the bird does not sing, kill it!

If the bird does not sing, I will make it sing!

If the bird does not sing, I will wait until it sings!

As you might imagine from the above episode, Ieyasu outlived and out-waited his opponents and then took over power, like a ripe apple falling into his hands.

Anyway, Ieyasu was an impressive figure and I will talk about him in another story, but here we are concerned with him after his death. His heirs and the nation needed a hero to unite for the future, so memorial shrines (Toshogu) were build, first in Kunoo-San. Another reason for building these luxurious shirnes, some critics say, was to make the local daimyoo, who were ordered with the buildings, spend so much money, they would not have a penny left to plot further fighting.

Tokugawa Ieyasu was obsessed with food and medicine to prolong his life. But he also liked to try new things, like the "tempora", tempura introduced by the Portugese missionaries.
The name refers to the time when the Catholics were not allowed to eat meat, quattuor tempora.
Ieyasu ate too much of it one day, became sick and died shortly after !

More details about his life:

Latest research found that Ieyasu did not die of food poisoning or stomach cancer, but of a cancer of the pancreas.


Kunoo-San Toshogu 久能山の東照宮 Kuno San, Mount Kunô

Ieyasu died in 1616, and was buried at Mount Kuno-San in Shizuoka Prefecture according to his will. The shrine is situated on a steep hill overlooking the beach, but you can easily reach it nowadays via a ropeway from the other side, driving over some spectacular rock formations, called the “Rocks like folding screens” (byoobu-yama).

Anyway the detailed story of Kunoo-San (various spellings) is here:

Mount Kunô (Kunôsan)
Utagawa Kuniteru II (Kunitsuna II; here signed as Kunitsuna)


Ueno Toshogu 上野の東照宮
CLICK for more photos

There is another famous Toshogu Shrine at Ueno, in the heart of Tokyo, built in 1650. This is the most convenient of the Toshogu Shrines to visit on a short Japan trip, and it gives you a vivid impression of this particular style of architecture, which I would like to call “Chinese Baroque”, overloaded with decorations, a symphony in colours and shapes, just overwhelming in all the details.
Look at it here:

徳川家康は元和2年(1616)4月17日駿府(静岡市)で死去し,死後日光東照宮に葬られた。その威光を末永く示すため,各所に家康を祀る東照宮が建立されたが,江戸では江戸城内紅葉山と浅草寺境内に東照宮が建てられた。寛永3年(1626)伊勢国津藩主藤堂高虎は,幕府の許可を得て自邸内に上野東照宮を造り,一般市民にも参拝させていた。寛永19年に浅草にあった東照宮が浅草寺からの火で類焼したため,急遽上野の東照宮が大名諸侯の参詣の場所となる。正保3年(1646)には正式に東照宮の宮号も授けられた。 しかし三代将軍家光は,高虎の建てた東照宮が気に入らず,社殿の全面造り替えを命じ,慶安4年(1651)4月に完成した。社殿は国重要文化財の指定を受け,唐門,透塀,拝殿,幣殿,本殿からなり,日光東照宮と同じ権現造りが用いられた。写真は拝殿で,その桁行七間(15.2m),梁間三間(6.3m)本殿の前方に建ち,本殿との間を石の間でつなぐ「権現造り」である。唐門の透塀に囲まれ,入母屋造り正面千鳥破風といった大きな銅葺の屋根である。黒漆の腰組が縁を保ち,柱から唐戸に至るまで金箔を使い,長押上段は鳳凰が彫刻され,金銀緑青からなる極彩色となっている。唐草蒔絵の長押,それに中央を高くした折上格天井は,狩野探幽筆の彩色唐獅子が描かれている。拝殿内陣正面の「東照宮」の勅額は,紺青と緑青の中に純金で書かれ,後水尾天皇の筆で慶安4年に納められたものである。

Woodblock Print of the Pagoda by Kawase Hasui

The Peonia Gardens at Ueno Toshogu


Kawagoe Toshogu 川越東照宮 - Senba Toshogu 仙波東照宮

CLICK for more photos

There are many Toshogu Shrine in Japan. But this shrine is one of the top three of Toshogu Shrine in Japan. The others are Kunosan Toshogu in Shizuoka Pref. and Nikko Toshogu in Tochigi Pref. TOKUGAWA Ieyasu was preliminarily buried at Kunosan. Since then, in accordance with the last words of Ieyasu, he was buried at Nikko. On the way to Nikko, the funeral procession stopped at Kawagoe. As a result anotherToshogu Shrine was constructed at Kawagoe.
His Buddhist priest-adviser Tenkai resided in the temple Kita-In in Kawagoe and had the Toshogu Shrine built in the compound to perform special rituals for four days, before the remains of Ieyasu moved on.

The Koma-Inu 狛犬of the shrine are especially beautiful.

. Tenkai 天海 - Jigen Daishi 慈眼大師  . (1536-1643)

Here in Kawagoe, Daruma meets Ieyasu at the annual Daruma Fair on January 3.
You can see the Daruma market and beautiful pictures of the Shrine in snow and the interiour with the superb black laquer decorations. The Hollycock crest (aoi no go-mon) is the one of the Tokugawa Family until today.

At the Temple Kita-In 川越喜多院 there is a big Daruma Market too.

Look at the many pictures on this link.

Jizoo with Daruma お地蔵様とだるま

The Hollycock crest (aoi no go-mon) is the one of the Tokugawa Family until today.


Kishu Toshogu 紀州東照宮
In Wakanoura, Wakayama

. Wakanoura matsuri 和歌浦祭 Wakanoura Festival .
. . . and the Saiga dance 雑賀踊


Nikko Toshogu (Nikkoo Tooshoo-Guu)

This is of course the most famous of them all, with extensive buildings nestled in the mountains of Nikko, now a national park with the great Kegon Waterfall, Lake Chuuzen-ji and many more spectacular places. In Nikko you find the famous three monkeys: no see, no hear, no speak. And the sleeping cat, which is watching over the mice in the area. All the wonderful carvings are said to have been made by a master carver who had only his left arm to do all these masterpieces, Hidari-Jingoroo.

“The grand shrine at Nikko, the Toshogu, was built for Tokugawa Ieyasu after his death in 1616. Ieyasu left behind detailed instructions for his shrine, which were, for the most part, carried out by his grandson Iemitsu in the 1630s. This site contains about 30 buildings, while the entire Nikko site contains many more, including the Taiyuin which Iemitsu had built as a mausoleum for himself in 1653.”

Here you find a lot of pictures with Enlish explanations.
Nikko area belongs to the World Heritage.

Walk around the temple compound.


More pictures

The complete picture tour, including the sleeping cat.

Sleeping Cat


Three Monkeys and MANY MORE


There is a map with all the Toshogu Shrines of Japan.

And on this list, you can click on most of the names on the left to go further.

Matsuo Basho in Nikko
日光. (futa ara) (二荒) .. Fudara

BAKU 獏 or 貘 a kind of tapir
It eats our nightmares, but also:

source : kotonara
With more photos from Nikko

Since the BAKU eats iron, copper and all kinds of metal, it was depicted at the Toshogu many times in the hope it would prevent the making of weapons and thus prevent war against the Bakufu.


Nikkoo Kaidoo 日光街道 Nikko Kaido Road
Nikko Reiheishi Kaido 日光例幣使街道 for imperial messengers
Nikko Onari Kaido 日光御成街道 for the Shogun

. Roads from Edo to Nikko .


sake no izumi 酒の泉 Sake Spring
at Takinoo Shrine 滝尾神社, a subordinate shrine of Nikko Futarasan Shrine
別宮滝尾神社 酒の泉【さけのいずみ】

Sake brewed with this water is especially delicious.

- source : www.mct.gr.jp/world_h/futarasan


. Teri-furi ningyoo 照り降り人形 "weather forecasting dolls" .

and this stone from Nikko

Terifuri-ishi - Weather Forecast Stone 照り降り石 日光


ekiben 駅弁 station lunch at Nikko
masu sushi 日光鱒寿し Sushi from masu, local trout
placed on a layer of local yuba tofu skin and wrapped in large bamboo leaves.
the fish is marinated in salt and then in vinegar to give it its appetizing color.
The producer of this bento makes others too, all with ingredients from the area.
If he can not get local fish, he uses some sent over from Tsukiji market in Tokyo.

CLICK for more photos

WASHOKU ... Japanese Food SAIJIKI



元和2年4月17日(1616年6月1日)June 1
kigo for mid-summer

Ieyasu Ki 家康忌 Ieyasu Memorial Day

. Memorial Days and Famous Poeple .

kigo for early summer

Nikkoo Tooshooguu sai
日光東照宮祭 (にっこうとうしょうぐうさい)
Festival at Toshogu in Nikko

Nikkoo sai 日光祭(にっこうさい)Nikko festival
Tooshooguu sai 東照宮祭(とうしょうぐうさい)Toshogu festisval
yoinarisai 宵成祭(よいなりさい)"coming on the night before"
togyosai 渡御祭(とぎょさい)"honorable parade of the main deity"
May 17, 18

It used to be on the death aniversary day of Ieyasu, according to the lunar calendar on April 17.

On the night before the festival, the mikoshi of the three main shrines are carried to shrine Futarasan jinja to spend the night there (yoinarisai).

A procession of 1,000 samurai warriors staged at a world heritage site
Shunki Reitaisai (Grand Festival of Spring)

The highlight of this festival is the procession called Hyakumono-Zoroe Sennin Gyoretsu of some 1,000 men dressed as samurai warriors on the 18th. Nikko Toshogu, which is registered as a World Heritage Site, is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo). This procession reproduces the scene of his grave being transferred from distant Shizuoka Prefecture to Nikko in accordance with Ieyasu's will.

The procession departs from a shrine called Otabisho by the Shinkyo Bridge located to the south of Futarasan-jinja Shrine. It is led by three portable shrines which carry the spirits of the three Shoguns, including Tokugawa Ieyasu. They are followed by Shinto priests on horseback and samurai warriors clad in full armor. There are no special attractions, but this enhances the grandiosity and elegance of the procession all the more, impressing the spectators with the dignity of the samurai warriors.

It is also worthwhile listening to the ancient court music and viewing the dance performances which are carried out upon the arrival of the portable shrines at Toshogu Shrine. The 17th features yabusame, with archers dressed in samurai style shooting at targets while on horseback. A similar procession is held in October but on about half the scale of the spring procession.
source : www.pelican-travel.net


Toshogu shrine pines
I try to stay as still -
mist and dew

Alan Summers, Area 17, 2006


. Nikkoo kisuge 日光黄菅 Amur Dailily .
lit. "yellow Suge from Nikko"
zenteika 禅庭花(ぜんていか)"Zen garden flower"
setteika せっていか
Hemerocallis middendorffii


. Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康 . (1543 - 1616) .

. WKD - Saijiki for Festivals and Ceremonies

. Law and Order  法律 - Pax Tokugawa .
The Edo Period

. Edo bakufu 江戸幕府 The Edo Government .




Gabi Greve said...

Read this in my library:

 Tokugawa Art
A taste for blood, arts and culture

"Legacy of the Tokugawa —
The Glories and Treasures of the Last Samurai Dynasty"

at the Tokyo National Museum


News said...


great explanations and photos


Gabi Greve - Toshogu said...

Nikko - the three monkeys and the 8 Monkey carvings

① 子供誕生。敬宮愛子内親王殿下のご誕生。昨年(2000)唯一の明るい話題でしたね。母親は将来、子供の年金がどうなるのかを案じております。

② どろどろした醜い大人の世界を可愛い子供たちには「見ざる言わざる聞かざる」にいたしましょう。当然、この彫刻は衆目を釘付けにしております。

③ 「浜崎あゆみ」ファンである小学四年生(2001)の孫娘は、独り立ちしてしまいつれないです。この孫娘も今や高校一年生(2007)となり腹の立つことにボーイフレンドが居ります。

④ 広い大空に将来の大きな夢を描いたよき青春時代。もう一度戻ってみたいですね。何をするにも年を感じる昨今です。若い人たちは遊びと教養に若さをぶつけて頑張ってほしいですね。

⑤ リストラに遭った友人に、君にはふさわしい会社がすぐに見つかると慰める温かい友情。

⑥ 恋愛時代で、嬉々と木にぶら下がる雌猿、結婚まではどうかなぁと悩む雄猿。現代とは逆ですね。

⑦ 無我夢中の新婚時代。お互いに欠点を見ないようにしている人生で一番幸せな時代で将来はバラ色以外考えられない時期でしょう。

⑧ 孫の顔を早く見たい親の気知らずで若い時代を楽しんでいたが、ついに妊娠. ①に戻ります。このような状況であれば


Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Masaoka Shiki


Gabi Greve said...

san jinko 三神庫 the three Jinko in Nikko

shimo jinko 下神庫-しもじんこ - lower
naka jinko 中神庫-なかじんこ - middle
kami jinko 上神庫-かみじんこ - upper


Gabi Greve said...

Head of Tokugawa family marks 400th anniversary of first British ship to visit Japan: Friday 6th December 1613.
The East India Company ship, The Clove left Japanese territorial waters on 6th December 1613


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

. Nikkobori 日光彫 woodcarving from Nikko .
made with a special knife with a bent blade, hikkaki ひっかき(日光三角刀) . .


Gabi Greve - ISSA said...

Kobayashi Issa

kami kamo ya o-nari mo shirade ando-gao

wild geese and ducks
feel safe, unaware
it's the shogun

This ironic hokku is from the eighth month (September) of 1819, the year evoked in Year of My Life, when Issa was living in his hometown. The hokku seems to be about the city of Edo, where Issa lived for many years. In Edo the word o-nari, "honorable procession," used without a modifier referred to a trip outside Edo castle by the shogun, and in this hokku the shogun is apparently taking a short trip in order to engage in one of his favorite pastimes: hawking. Although a few shoguns refrained from engaging in hawking for Buddhist reasons, most shoguns were very fond of hunting birds and small animals with hawks. Only the shogunal clan had the right to hawk in Edo, although they allowed several daimyo lords who were their close supporters to also possess the prestigious right to hawk there. The shogunate maintained several wooded areas in Edo as hunting zones that were off-limits to people unrelated to the shogun, though sometimes the shogun would simply go hawking where he pleased and force local farmers to become his temporary servants during the hunt. Shoguns often went hawking in northeast Edo near the Sumida River, not far from where Issa usually lived, so Issa may well have seen one or more of these hunting processions.

Read the comment by Chris Drake

Gabi Greve said...

Dooyo Shoonin 道誉上人 Saint Doyo Shonin
(1515 - 1574)
Ieyasu and the Nenbutsu

Gabi Greve said...

Tokugawa Shitenno 徳川四天王 four famous retainers of Tokugawa Ieyasu
Two of them have Fudo Myo-O's sword as helmet crest:

Honda Tadakatsu 本多忠勝 (1548–1610)
Ii Naomasa 井伊直政 (1561–1602)
Sakai Tadatsugu 酒井忠次 (1527–1596)
Sakakibara Yasumasa 榊原康政 (1548–1606)

Gabi Greve said...

Jeans decoration

combination of the Fudo favored by Takeda Shingen
and his enemy Tokugawa Ieyasu

信玄の守護神 武田不動尊像と家康の顰(しかみ)像

shikami 顰 "Grimacing Face"

- quote
Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) attacked the army of Takeda Shingen in the Battle of Mikatagahara against the advice of his vassals and suffered a great defeat.
It is believed that Ieyasu, who narrowly escaped to his castle, had a portrait of himself in fear made to remember that he must always listen to the comments of his vassals, as a lesson learned in this battle.

Gabi Greve said...

A few notes from a poster presentation I did about the Tokugawa family and the Edo Period.

History of the Tokugawa Family

Matsudaira Motoyasu (later Tokugawa Ieyasu) was born into a powerful clan which traces its history back to the Minamoto clan during the Heian period (794-1185) and the Ashikaga Shogunate in the 1330s. During the Sengoku period Motoyasu changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu who became the most famous person of the Matsudaira clans. The Tokugawa crest originates from the Matsudaira clan and was modified to its current shape by Ieyasu’s father Hirotada. It consists of three hollyhock leaves which said to bow to the sun and regarded as a symbol of the loyal retainer who dutifully obeys his lord.

The crest is only used by direct descendants of Ieyasu. Ieyasu used the truth of his family genealogy and history to justify that he was the only true leader of Japan after the Sengoku wars.
. snip
Soon after the 1603 victory at Sekigahara Tokugawa Ieyasu politically eliminated all potential opposition and moved regional daimyo (feudal lords) and their families to Edo. All regional daimyo swore an oath of allegiance to him to ensure total loyalty. Daimyo owned and controlled lands became a part of the new Japanese Empire which was then re-distributed among faithful Tokugawa daimyo. The Tokugawa bakufu then drew its wealth through a tax for rice cultivated in their individual domains. This had never happened before in Japanese history.

Gabi Greve said...

Tokugawa and Edo Period

History of the Tokugawa Family

Matsudaira Motoyasu (later Tokugawa Ieyasu) was born into a powerful clan which traces its history back to the Minamoto clan during the Heian period (794-1185) and the Ashikaga Shogunate in the 1330s. During the Sengoku period Motoyasu changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu who became the most famous person of the Matsudaira clans. The Tokugawa crest originates from the Matsudaira clan and was modified to its current shape by Ieyasu’s father Hirotada. It consists of three hollyhock leaves which said to bow to the sun and regarded as a symbol of the loyal retainer who dutifully obeys his lord. The crest is only used by direct descendants of Ieyasu. Ieyasu used the truth of his family genealogy and history to justify that he was the only true leader of Japan after the Sengoku wars.

Sakoku, Edicts and Trade

The Closed Country Edict of 1635 was finalised Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu Tokugawa. The central government’s strict legislation was forced upon the Japanese people and those wanting to trade and enter Japan. The initial draft of the edict was initiated by Ieyasu in 1603. Despite common misconceptions about the so called isolation period by Western historians who have traditionally emphasized the negative aspects of the Sakoku period, this was not entirely true. The Sakoku period was not designed to isolate Japan but to keep the Tokugawa bakufu firmly in a position of unassailable domination over trade profits, religion and the consumer markets that were rapidly growing. Although trade with Europe was halted, trade with The Dutch, China and Korea flourished.

Gabi Greve said...

John LaFarge John  ジョン・ラファージ 
(March 31, 1835 – November 14, 1910)
He was a pioneer in the study of Japanese art...
about Tokugawa Ieyasu:
Nikko, August 2. (published 1892)


From where we are in the Holy Mountain, our first visit would be naturally to the shrine of the shogun Iyéyasŭ, whose extreme walls I see among the highest trees whenever I look from our balcony over our little waterfall.

Iyéyasŭ died in 1616, having fought, he said, ninety battles and eighteen times escaped death, having almost destroyed Christianity, and leaving his family established as rulers of Japan. In obedience to his dying wishes, his son and successor removed the body of his father from its resting-place in the south to this final tomb at Nikko. Here, in 1617, with complicated and mystic ceremonial, he was buried and deified.

The approach to the temple, to which most paths lead, is through a great broad avenue, a quarter of a mile long, bordered by high stone walls, above which rise high banks and higher trees. Between these dark green walls, all in their own shade,—in the center of the enormous path and in the full light of the sky,—a brilliant torrent rushes down in a groove of granite, hidden occasionally under the road. Here and there drop out from the walls noisy columns of clearest water.

full text of his book

Gabi Greve said...

Abekawa, Abe-Kawa 安倍川 / 阿部川 - place names

in Shizuoka and Edo


Gabi Greve said...

- - - monkey leading a horse
saru no umabiki 猿の馬曳き // saru no komabiki 猿の駒曳き
saru hiki uma 猿曳き馬 - 猿曳馬 // saru hiki koma 猿曳き駒 - 猿曳駒
uma hiki saru 馬曳猿 // koma hiki saru 駒曳猿
umaya saru 厩猿 monkey in a horse stable

Nikko Toshogu