Located in Mito, Ibaraki prefecture, the Tokiwa Shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Mitsukuni and Tokugawa Nariaki, important Daimyo (Lords) in Japan from the Edo period. Once you get to this beautiful shrine, you will see a concrete Torii gate with sake containers nearby as often seen at important Shinto shrines.
Don’t you want to be captivated by the beauty of this shrine? Let’s explore what it has to offer.
There used to be a hall of worship at the nearby Kairakuen park. There were two feudal lords enshrined there – Giko and Rekko, other names for Tokugawa Mitsukuni and Tokugawa Nariaki respectively. In 1873, the Government erected a new shrine that was worthy of these great people and named it Tokiwa Jinja, which was deemed a National shrine.
The new site for the shrine of the lords was carefully chosen and the construction soon began. Many of Mito’s citizens and from other places around Japan got behind this project. The citizens donated money and labor to help make this shrine acceptable for the lords.
As this shrine is dedicated to the Tokugawa clan, you can see the clan’s seal just about everywhere. In 1874, Mitsukuni was enshrined at this temple. He was the second daimyo in Mito, and the compiler of the Dai Nihonshi (an important book about the history of Japan). Nariaki was the ninth Lord and founder of the Kodokan han school, a school for children of the elite.
The shrine is a peaceful place to clear your head and feel connected with the past. There is also a gift shop full of Mito charms and fortunes.
If you walk further to the back of this shrine, you can see other shrines and the Komainu. The Komainu is a pair of statues that have features of lions. They either guard the entrance of the shrines, or are kept inside and out of sight. Wander through the park and see if you can spot the difference between the shrines. Each one is unique and holds different meanings.
Shrines are the perfect way to honor great people of times gone by. When you visit Japan you will soon begin to understand their importance for Japanese people. Having a way to connect with your ancestors and great people from the past makes you feel like you’re a part of a much bigger whole. If you are in Mito, make sure you visit this beautiful shrine and the Kairakuen park that’s right next to it!
You can click here for more information in English.