Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday, Apr 21st, Tokyo, Japan


This morning, at breakfast, we saw the remaining few of our traveling friends.  We had a great western goodbye meal last night (almost like they were helping us transition), and bid a grateful farewell to the Samurai 22 Japan Tour of 2018.  As usual, our companions added immensely to our enjoyment and learning, and we all gave the local tour guides, and Mike Roberts, the owner of Samurai Tours a big round of applause for another job well done.

Yesterday, we spent the last day together traveling from Sendai to Tokyo for our flights home today.  On the way, we stopped at Nikko, where the Tosho-gu Shrine is located.  This is a little like saying that on the way to Cairo airport, we stopped off at the Great Pyramids.  Or on the way to Sydney, we visited the Great Barrier Reef.

When Pat proposed coming to Japan, I had no idea that I would be adding so many great historical memories to our lives.  Every day on this trip, we've visited and learned more about this part of the world's great eras, leaders, cultures, and what they've left behind for us to learn from.   Today, we walked through the Tokugawa family shrine, built for Leyasu Tokugawa, the leader of the third and last of the shogunal governments in Japan's history.  Leyasu, was called the "Great Gongen, Light of the East".  A gongen is believed to be a Buddha, who has appeared on earth in the shape of a kami to save sentient beings.

There are many temples and shrines at Nikko, but the first (Renno-ji) was built in 766 by a Buddhist monk (Shodo Shonin), to further the Tendai Buddhist Sect.  This place served as an ascetic training retreat for centuries for visiting monks, during which most of the civilizations in the Americas rose and fell.  And the detail on the woodcarvings truly defines awe-inspiring.

Lastly, I have to comment on the natural environment.  Tranquility is a defined as being in a state of calm, serene, and worry-free.  That the founders of a religion which teaches the value of that chose these cedar trees on this mountain is no accident.  One can clearly understand the power of place here.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Saturday, Apr 21st, Tokyo, Japan.

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