We had five hours until our next check-in, so we went back to Toshogu again, but this time we were able to see everything we wanted to see – I don’t care what anybody says, you cannot see all of Toshogu in one day.
In keeping in line with the general theme of this blog I will write a little bit about this World Heritage – it’s a shrine and a temple, but more of shrine in my opinion. Nikko is the soul of Japan.
For starters, the family crest needs to be not only recognized, but understood. The Crest of Tokugawa family which is the Three Hollyhock Leaves was selected by Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The gilded crest carved on columns, pillars, panels, utensils, treasures, etc., seems to symbolize 300 year-long Tokugawa Government prosperity.
This symbol was not only revered but respected all over the world, even by governments as far as the Netherlands. This man was truly loved admired and respected, and even esteemed by his own enemies.
Japan! Where is your dignity today?
Before moving any further what readers need to understand is that Kyoto does not represent the true essence of how shrines used to be built, never let anybody fool you. The original shrines were very colorful and inlaid with gold and highly ornamental. Most foreigner, as well as Japanese, who visit Kyoto fawn over and admire such edifies that are almost entirely unauthentic, thus failing to recognize the truth behind the design.
Visiting Nikko Toshogu one can capture the essence of how a real shrine was built hundreds , perhaps even thousands of years ago. The crest and the original construction of shrines is the foundation for understanding Toshogu, and Japanese history.