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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