Tochigi #2: Three Wise Monkeys (三猿)

These should look familiar! Tochigi’s 2nd postcard today is of the Three Wise Monkeys, demonstrating the principles of “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil”. This famous carving can be found in the ancient city of Nikko, where the shrines and temples have been worshiped in for centuries. The most famous of these is Toshogu Shrine, the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. You can read more about him here. The monkeys can be seen with a trip to Toshogu, but the other shrines and temples of Nikko are also not to be missed. You can read more about Toshogu here and here.

I have visited the shrines and temples of Nikko just once although I’ve been to the area a couple of times. My first visit was truly magical, and I was able to see the famous monkey carving, as well as several others in the area. It seems as though every building in Nikko is elaborately carved and painted, and I can see that postacollect probably had a hard time choosing what to depict in the postcard! Although the monkeys are perhaps most famous, my favorite carving in Nikko was the sleeping cat. Anyway, here are some pictures of the carving, alas with no postcard to compare!


A roof top in Toshogu


The monkeys up close


And close enough to the postcard, cute monkey omikuji bought at the shrine!

Nikko is close enough to Tokyo for a day trip, but to truly appreciate its size and beauty I wholly recommend staying the night. Still, any glimpse of this beautiful area is worth it!

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2 thoughts on “Tochigi #2: Three Wise Monkeys (三猿)

  1. This is a lovely blog! I have a question about buying gotochi cards. I live in Tokushima, and not all the post offices sell them. I will be on vacation in Kanto in April, I am wondering if I will run into this problem in Tokyo/Chiba. I think I know where to go in Tokyo, but I will only have a little time in Chiba. Since I don’t know the area, could you tell me where you buy your cards in Chiba? Any information will be helpful. I can send you a gotochi from Tokushima in return for your help. Thank you very much, and best of luck on your collection! ~Heather

    • Hi Heather! Glad you found me!

      I’m not sure why some Tokushima postoffices don’t carry Gotochi, but they should. Perhaps they’re hiding behind a counter, or else they’ve run out? Anyway, you absolutely shouldn’t have any problems in Tokyo OR Chiba. If you can’t find the box that holds them, simply ask the person over the counter, and they should pull them out. Don’t forget to ask for the mini versions too!

      For where to buy in Chiba: My first recommendation would be to take the Keiyou Line from Tokyo Station to Shinurayasu. It’s the station after Maihama, which everyone goes to for Tokyo Disney Land/Sea. There is a postoffice right outside the station, though it is a tiny bit hidden and hard to find, but it’s the closest one. It’s maybe 20 minutes or so from Tokyo Station on the local trains. And I can guarantee Tokyo Post office will have gotochi, though they may not have the little ones left.

      Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, please let me know!

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