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Nikko’s Three Wise Monkeys, Famous for “See-no-evil, Say-no-evil, Hear-no-evil”

Posted By on Sep 17, 2013


Today I’d like to introduce you “three monkeys” in Nikko Toshogu.

Nikko Toshogu, located in Nikko of Tochigi prefecture,
was founded for the mausoleum of Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate.


Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa shogun, completed it in 1636.
By visiting here,  you can enjoy not only the Toshogu, but also Rinnoji, Taiyuinbyo, Futarasan shrine, Nemuri Neko, and Ieyasu’s tomb.
(Additional admission fees may be required to enter these places.)


The buildings have been listed as National Treasure in Japan,
and registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.


After entering the gate, immediately you can see the Sacred House. On the wall, the famous monkeys can be seen.


 The most famous one is called “Mizaru Kikazaru Iwazaru”,
which means “See-no-evil, Say-no-evil, Hear-no-evil”.

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Check the below picture, and you can see three monkeys: the left one covers his ears,
the middle one covers his eyes, and the last right one covers his mouth, with their hands.

They tell children “See-no-evil, Say-no-evil, Hear-no-evil”.


Though the three monkeys are the most famous one,
on the wall there are many monkeys. The each one has own meaning.


 A mother monkey is looking far into her baby monkey’s future.
It means she hopes her child’s happy life. And her child monkey is looking up at her face.


The monkey is thinking about his future, and just about to be independent.


 The two young monkeys are looking up with great ambitions.

With such a information, it would be much more fun to see the monkeys.

Hope you can make time to visit and  enjoy the monkeys in Nikko Toshogu.


[Posted by Yuina]

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