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Recently, Japan has become settled in a sense. Now, we can tell the whole picture of the earthquake and tsunami and know what to do and care for, or how to live under these conditions. Though radioactive matter is still a big problem, some annual events are being held discreetly to keep our cultures and histories.
On April 17, 1616, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Edo Shogunate, passed away in Sumpu Castle. His body was buried in Mt. Kuno and enshrined as Tosho Daigongen by his will saying “My body is to be buried in Mt, Kuno, the funeral in Edo, and after one year, transfer my body to Nikko to become a guardian of Kanto Area”.
Now, “Tosho” is the god-name of Tokugawa Ieyasu, as called Kunozan Tosho-gu, or Nikko Tosho-gu, which literally means “Lighting in the east”, indicating the east part of Japan, that is, Kanto area including Edo is under his blessing. Or, if his word construed as “Lighting to the east”, because Edo is to the east of Suruga ( Shizuoka ), his soul might be in Shizuoka to see warmly the way his son or grandson administers this country.
By the way, on the anniversary of his death, a formal ceremony “Reisai” is to be held in Kunozan Toshogu Shrine every year. “Reisai” is regarded as the most important event for shrines. And you know what ? Yesterday was the day for it ! I visited Kunozan Toshogu Shrine of the National Treasure and saw the whole ceremony. I don’t explain about Kunozan Toshogu Shrine much this time because I’ve ever written about it twice. Please refer to the report on Jan 21, 2011 and one on Apr 23, 2010.
I didn’t take Nihondaira Ropeway this time to walk up the 1159 stairs to the shrine. It was a little bit physically hard for me but spiritually refreshing for its panoramic view.
At around 10:30, all attendees assembled around the main hall. The ceremony started solemnly with the sound of Shinto flute and a shout of Shinto priest, which continued for 15 minutes or so, followed by “Shunki-no Mai” dance by a priestess in gorgeous costume, praying for the world peace. After the Mai dance, Shinto ritual began. There came the 18th descendant of Tokugawa Ieyasu in a historical costume. 300 spectators around. He had the very image of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Modest and decent. I can’t actually explain what is to what but all his demeanors somehow made me feel the air of Ieyasu.
After the Shinto rituals of 1.5 hours, at around 12:00, we all walked up to the place of his original grave-site to pray for him to rest in peace. And there, all attendees took some commemorative pictures with Mr, Tokugawa and all ceremony of 2 hours came to an end. It was very fun to me to feel our culture in a historical spot like Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. Such kind of annual ceremonies are held in many shrines. Anyone can join it. If you’ve got interested, please inquire us.
Have a good day !
“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ＾＾