Friday, September 15, 2023

Kishu Toshogu Shrine


Kishu Toshogu is a very colorful shrine in Wakayama City. Kishu was the feudal domain of the Edo Period that was roughly what is now northern Wakayama Prefecture and part of Mie Prefecture.

Toshogu is the name given to shrines enshrining the deified first Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The main and first Toshogu is in Nikko.

It is located in the Wakanoura area in the south of Wakayama City. Wakanoura means Bay of Poetry and is a revered location that has had many poems written about it since ancient times.

By the end of the Edo Period there were about 500 branches of Toshogu established all over Japan, but that number has been seriously reduced since then.

From the parking lot and shrine offices, a stone stairway called Samuraizaka leads up to the shrine. It is composed of 108 steps, an important number in Buddhism.

The Romon, main gate, is very colorful and ornate, like many of the other structures, and also registered as an Important Cultural Property.

The original Toshigu in Nikko is famous for being extremely colorful and ornate, and many branch Toshogu's have tried to emulate that. Here at Kishu artworks were executed by Hidari Jingoro and Kano Tan'yu, among others.

The main gate contains a pair of fine Zuijin, Shinto Shrine Guardians.

Kishu Toshogu was built in 1619 by Tokugawa Yorinobu, the tenth son of Ieyasu, who became the first daimyo of Kishu Domain. He was also enshrined here after his death.

As far as I can tell this makes Kishu Toshogu the very first branch of Nikko Toshogu.

Ieyasu was deified as Toshogu Gongen, said to be a manifestation of a Buddha, using a variation of Sanno Shinto, a sect based on the Tendai complex at Mount Hiei.

Before the official separation of the kamis and Buddhas in 1868 there was a pagoda and a Yakushi-do here.

The previous post in this series exploring Wakayama was the Museum of Modern Art.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of interesting details in these photos.