Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Army of Toshogu

Toshogu Shrine in Nikko is the famous mausoleum of the great Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu who unified Japan under Tokugawa rule for 250 years. The House of Tokugawa finally collapsed in 1868 under the onslaught of Imperial forces. Oppositionists continued to fight for the Shogun through early 1868.

The Oppositionists fought battles as they retreated North from Edo (Tokyo). One of the Opposition units was lead by Shinsengumi commander Hijikata Toshizo. They marched under a great white banner emblazoned with the Chinese characters Tosho Daigongen, an alternate name for the Toshogu Shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Hijikata's Tosho Daigongen unit fought and captured Utsunomiya Castle but were driven from the castle in a major offensive by Imperial forces. Hijikata and his Army of Toshogu eventually were defeated on the northern island of Ezo (Hokkaido).

Hopefully this will give those visiting Nikko more feeling of the historical significance of the Toshogu Shrine rather then just thinking of Nikko as another Japanese tourist destination full of temples and shrines.

Statue of Shinsengumi Commander Hijikata Toshizo


  1. you're right. i joined the tour without knowing the historical significance of the place. all i knew then was it was a shrine, and a UNESCO heritage site. next time, i swear to do my homework first. :-)

  2. I too thought it was just a nice temple complex the first time I visited.