| Photo Diary | By The Nightingale's Song

I can positively say that we have never climbed as many stairs together as we did to get to Tokyogawa Ieyasu's resting place.  There were hundreds of them. Short breaths but determined feet. Silence amid the song of a nightingale shrouded by towering Sugi (Japanese cedar). Yet young and old made the ascent as they do all year round

The unassuming yet dignified urn shown in the 5th photo from the top, holds the remains of  the Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shoguntate that ruled Japan for over 250 years. This glimpse of his mausoleum is at the heart of  Toushou-gu's larger more ornate complex built by his formidable grandson Tokugawa Iemistu.

It was a stirring and exhilarating moment for me to visit and see for myself the resting place of one of Japan's most influential rulers. Subtle though it is, I felt that nature more than the architecture added to the  reverence and dignity that permeates the air here and add to that the stark contrast at this particular spot compared to the ostentatiousness of the rest of the complex (which I will blog about soon). 

When I think back, I can still hear the song of the nightingale which is now instilled in me as the most beautiful sound I've as yet heard. Quite fitting then, that according to an old story which compares the characters of Japan's three most influential Shoguns Tokugawa was said to be as follows;

'Oda Nobunaga says: "Nightingale, if you do not sing, I shall kill you."
Toyotomi Hideyoshi says: "Nightingale, if you do not sing, I shall make you."
Tokugawa Ieyasu says: "Nightingale, if you do not sing now, I shall wait until you do."'

Travel Notes| You can find Tokugawa Ieyasu's mausoleum within the Toushou-gu Shrine in Nikko. Nikko lies north of Tokyo and is a great place for a cultural day trip as it has great connections from the capital. See here for in-depth directions.

SEE MORE | Discover a bit more about our time in Nikko | See more of our adventures in Japan HERE |


  1. This place looks so grand! I really like the setting of it. Must've been worth the climb.

  2. It was. Even the climb was beautiful. It felt right to struggle a little before we got there. Can't explain why very well though.

  3. I've never climbed as many stairs as I have visiting all the temples in Japan :). I love the setting of the tomb. The photo makes it look like it was snowing and there was snow all around the tomb. Very peaceful. I love the quote of the nightingale at the end.

  4. I always think that if something has been placed at the top of a great lot of stairs, it must be worth climbing up to see. This is not always true - the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower is nothing special. But it's worth climbing to the top of the hill at Sacre-Coeur in Paris, and at Notre-Dame cathedral, too. It sounds like this little theory of mine applies to Tokugawa Ieyasu's resting place, as well. The combination of nature and architecture looks just breathtaking in your photos.

  5. thank you for this sweet escape today ... so peaceful and serene!

  6. This is amazing, I need to go here and venture up all the steps, no doubt it will take me ages, as I will want to keep looking around as I go!! Marvellous :))) Happy Friday doll xx

  7. I always like the forest settings - adds to the magic and sometimes step climbing is totally worth it :)

  8. beautiful details, so magical. I love this so much! x

  9. beautiful! those steps look like a killer but the beauty that surrounds them must be the best distraction :)


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