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Yomeimon at Nikkō Tōshō-gū

Tōshō-gū (東照宮) is any Shinto shrine in which Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) is enshrined.[1]

Ieyasu was the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1868), which is the third and last of the shogunal governments in Japanese history. He was deified with the name Tōshō Daigongen (東照大権現), the "Great Gongen, Light of the East"[2] (A Gongen is believed to be a buddha who has appeared on Earth in the form of a kami to save sentient beings), and this is what gives Tōshō-gū shrines their name.

Tōshō-gū shrines are found throughout Japan. The most famous Tōshō-gū is located in Nikkō in Tochigi Prefecture.[3] It is one of Japan's most popular destinations for tourists and is part of Shrines and Temples of Nikkō UNESCO World Heritage site.[4] Ieyasu's son, the second shōgun Hidetada, ordered the construction of the Nikkō Tōshō-gū.[5] Later, the third shōgun Iemitsu had the shrine greatly enlarged and lavishly decorated.[6]

Ueno Tōshō-gū at Ueno Park in Tokyo is also widely known.[7][8] The Kunōzan Tōshō-gū is in Shizuoka prefecture and rivals Nikkō's for decorative splendor.[9][10] Another one is the Nagoya Tōshō-gū, constructed in 1619. A Tōshō-gū can also be found at Miyanochō, in Sendai.

During the Edo period these shrines reached 500 in number, but after the Meiji Restoration many were abandoned,[11] and others united with shrines in the area. Presently, it is estimated that there are about 130 Tōshō-gū.[12] The National Tōshō-gū association lists a total of 48 shrines.[13]

Gallery of Tōshō-gū shrines[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tōshō-gū Shrine". GetHiroshima. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  2. ^ "Toshogu Shrine". Japan Guide. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  3. ^ "Tōshō-gū Shrine". GetHiroshima. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  4. ^ "Shrines and Temples of Nikko". UNESCO. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  5. ^ "Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the mausoleum of a shogun". Japan Experience. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  6. ^ "Toshogu Shrine". Japan Guide. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  7. ^ "Ueno Park". Japan Guide. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  8. ^ "Ueno Toshogu". Ueno Toshogu. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  9. ^ "Kunouzan Toshogu, Welcome". Kunōzan Tōshō-gū Official Website. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  10. ^ "Kunozan Toshogu Shrine". Japan Guide. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  11. ^ "Tosho-gu Shrine, Ueno Park, Tokyo". Old Tokyo. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  12. ^ "Toshogu". Japan This. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  13. ^ "全国東照宮連合会 加盟神社 (in japanese)". National Tōshō-gū association. Retrieved 2017-12-28.

External links[edit]