Although Senba Toshogu Shrine sits at the top of a steep staircase, its gates were tightly closed

Stairs leading to Senba Toshogu Shrine
Stairs leading to Senba Toshogu Shrine
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When one thinks of Toshogu, one thinks of the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, which is also a World Heritage site. But there are many more shrines dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu in many parts of Japan than one might expect. According to the National Toshogu Federation, about 50 shrines from Hakodate in the north to Nagasaki in the south are dedicated to Tosho Daigongen, the Imperial epithet of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Senba Toshogu Shrine in Kawagoe is one of them, and according to its official website, it is one of the "three major Toshogu shrines in Japan." However, many Toshogu shrines refer to themselves as Japan's three great Toshogu shrines, including Nikko Toshogu, the main shrine, and Kunouzan Toshogu, which enshrines Ieyasu's body. Therefore, when one hears the phrase "Japan's Three Great Toshogu Shrines," one becomes defensive. I suspect that they are simply exaggerating the venerable status of their shrines. How about this Senba Toshogu Shrine? Is it a Toshogu worthy of the title of one of Japan's three great Toshogu shrines?

Toshogu was built here by Tenkai, the same Buddhist monk who founded Kanei-ji Temple in Ueno. After his death, Ieyasu, who was once buried at Mt. Kunou in Shizuoka Prefecture, stayed here for a while on his way to Nikko for burial, where Tenkai conducted a very respectful Buddhist memorial service. The shrine is said to have begun as Toshogu Shrine when a statue of Ieyasu was enshrined in the hall where Tenkai performed the memorial service.

Later, by order of Tokugawa Iemitsu, a brilliant main shrine, Karamon gate, Mizugaki wall, Haiden hall, Heiden hall, Zuishin-mon gate, and Ishi-torii (stone gate) were built and continue to be built to this day. Senba Toshogu Shrine is so venerable that it was built by order of the Shogun. I think it is fully qualified to call itself one of the "three great Toshogu shrines of Japan." However, one thing to keep in mind is that the shrine can be visited only on Sundays and holidays. I came here on a Saturday and could only stretch my neck to peek through the tightly closed gate.

日本語
May 2022 IN THE CITY SAITAMA

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PHOTO DATA

No

12263

Shooting Date

Mar 2022

Posted On

May 12, 2022

Modified On

May 13, 2022

Place

Kawagoe, Saitama

Genre

Still Life Photography

Camera

SONY ALPHA 7R II

Lens

ZEISS LOXIA 2/35

Where is Senba Toshogu Shrine?

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