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 |