Kunozan Toshogu Shrine

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  • Established: 1616
  • Japanese: 久能山東照宮 (Kunouzan Toushouguu)

Kunôzan Tôshôgû in Shizuoka prefecture was the first Shinto shrine dedicated to Tôshô-daidongen ("Great Avatar that Illuminates the East"), the deified spirit of Tokugawa Ieyasu, following his death in 1616.

Ieyasu had specified that a small shrine be constructed to his memory, on Kunôzan (Mt. Kunô) near Sunpu castle. He envisioned a small ceremony headed by his retainer Sakakibara Teruhisa. However, his son Tokugawa Hidetada arranged for something larger and grander. Two days after Ieyasu's death, the Buddhist priest & shogunal advisor Bonshun officiated at a ceremony installing Ieyasu as the chief deity at a new shrine on Mt. Kunô constructed for this purpose. Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and other members of the family visited the shrine three days later. Though the shrine was originally called Tôshôsha, it was later renamed Tôshôgû.

Tenkai, another Buddhist priest and shogunal advisor, however, managed to arrange for Ieyasu's body and spirit to be relocated to Nikkô before the end of that year. Though Kunôzan Tôshôgû remains active and prominent, Nikkô Tôshôgû grew to overshadow it almost immediately.


  • Morgan Pitelka, Spectacular Accumulation, University of Hawaii Press (2016), 146.
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