Saturday, June 28, 2008

Toshogu Shrine In Nikko

Nikko wo minakereba, kekkō to iu na"
a famous Japanese saying
That phrase translates into, "Your trip will not be complete, if you have not seen Nikko" and I guess my trip has become over-complete because I went to the similar spot yet again in the space of less than three months. But since this trip is a sponsored trip, so I am not complaining. The first picture will be the Sinkyo Sacred Bridge but we were not given any time to get down from our bus and take a closer look at this bridge, which is dubbed as one of the three most famous bridge in Japan. So, we just took a glance of the bridge from our sits inside the bus. This much-photographed red bridge separates the shrines from the town of Nikko. In feudal times, only the shogun was permitted to cross the bridge, and even today it's barred from pedestrian traffic - although there's a 4-lane highway rumbling right past.
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The reflection from the seat is clearly visible, but I still post this up 'coz I feel that the tone of the picture is very much balanced. Just look at the contrast between the red Sinkyo bridge and the crystal clear blue river flowing through a gorge underneath the bridge. Beautiful.
Our initial plan was to visit all three temples of Toshogu, Futarasan and Rinnoji. However, it was approaching the closing time to enter the last two temples when we got there, and that forced us to make some last minute changes to the schedule of the trip. In the end, we only got to visit Toshogu shrine, which is the burial place of dynasty founder Tokugawa Ieyasu and the most extravagant of the lot.
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Some sense of dignity is restored by a magnificent forest of over 13,000 cedar trees, covering the entire area.
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Just like these two huge cedars at the entrance of the shrine. It is especially more so during the hot weather nowadays, at least we didn't have to walk under the hot sun and it was actually still relatively cold that evening.
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Unlike most Japanese temples and shrines, the buildings here are extremely gaudy and ornate, with multicoloured carvings and plenty of gold leaf, and show heavy Chinese influence.
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This is the place where visitors are supposed to clean their body before stepping into the shrine. Well, it is not a compulsory thing to do, but I usually get myself there not to clean myself, but to quench my thirst. That white board on the right tells you that "No Smokig" is allowed there.
During my first time here, I didn't enter another section of the shrine because an extra entrance fees is required. But since this time it was included as one part of our entrance ticket, I got to enter this section. We didn't know what was on offer at the top of the 200 steps. Our curiosity made us take the effort to go all the way up only to be surprised with a simple grave site in the end.
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This is what we got to see - a barren looking leyasu's tomb, after climbing up so high and worse still, the entrance fee to this section cost 520yen (RM17) =.=
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However, it was not the tomb that is the reason people pay to enter that section of the shrine, but this carving of a sleeping cat. This is the only thing that eluded me from a complete visit to this shrine during my previous time here. Can you spot it? *clue - look for the red arrow*
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I wonder when this cat will wake up. Or will it wake up in the first place?
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There are two other carvings which are said to be the most famous ones in this shrine and the second one is at the top of wall on the left of this picture. It is an interesting approximation of an elephant, carved by an artist who had clearly never seen one in a country like Japan.
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A close up picture of an elephant that was almost molested by a lion. The facial expression of the elephant explains how it was savoring the moment trying to escape from the gay lion which has a perverted face wtf.
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Of the three carvings, this must be the most famous one - the carving of the three wise monkeys. They're part of a curious series of carvings about the life cycle of a monkey, from giddy childhood to fearful old age.
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"Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil".
Apparently, we had nothing better to do and decided to make it an extra addition to the carvings.
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"Smell no evil" too. *refer to Zul standing on the right*


zhenhui said...

you went once before with ming rong rite??
that was ming rong's final post before he abandoned his blog rite?
eh you kanchigai ady la
the last pic the fella...
he's trying to say u all busu.....

ahh...nothing.. :)

calvin said...

@ zhen hui:
are you saying that was the reason that made him stopped blogging, although he never announce it. maybe he's just taking a break. a real long break from blogging.

yealor, 'coz we didn't have the time to take our morning showers already wtf >.<