Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We arrived at the massive torii gate in Nikko, in the Tochigi prefecture.

Standing in this spot, you at the same elevation as the topmost tip of the highest tower in Tokyo, the Tokyo Skytree.

The tall forest that surrounds the shrine here dates back to the 17th century.

The three wise monkeys do not hear, speak, or see any evil. Presumably that means that they don't know what happened to the first monkey's fingers. Or if they do, they won't say.

The Sacred Horse of Nikko in the stable. This horse was a gift from the people of New Zealand.

A second torii marks the entrance to the Nikko Tosho-gu, the shrine dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Construction of these buildings began in the Edo Period, in 1617.

The elaborate wood carvings deserve a close look.

The building that you see at the end of this picture, which unfortunately does not allow pictures inside, is a magnificent echo chamber, with sounds made inside multiplied many times. It is as if distance does not exist for these sounds, at least for a moment.

We followed the stone path to the Shogun's tomb.

All was quiet here. Perhaps we were silent, or perhaps the cool breeze did not carry the noise.

Here was the Shogun's tomb.

The remains of Tokugawa Ieyasu rest inside, as they have for over 300 years.

This hall, covered in carvings of fantastical animals called kirin, was being renovated. We stayed inside for quiet awhile, but I'm afraid they did not allow photographs here, either.

We walked back from the shrine into the mountain town.

The bridge is part of another shrine.

Where we has a nice lunch. They specialize in a sort of skimmed tofu dish here, which you can see in the top left hand side of the picture.

We perused the bakery near this telephone booth.

And then we climbed the hill to the historic Kanaya Hotel.

Where we found a smaller, more personal shrine in a clearing.

Less massive and less elaborate perhaps, but also more private.

In Nikko the sacred is contained within many forms.

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