12. High Trees

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While I'm walking to Tosho-gu, let me give a background to this place. During a period of 100 years from the end of the 15th century, Japan consisted in practice of a number of small states that were more or less constantly at war with each other. Around 1570, the warlord Nobunaga Oda started a campaign to reunite Japan. He was assassinated quite early on, but one of his generals, Hideyoshi Toyotomi took up his mantle, and was able to become the de facto leader of Japan. But he died when his son was only five, and one of his main allies, Ieyasu Tokugawa took benefit of this situation. The Tokugawa family would rule Japan for 250 years, a period of peace and seclusion. In his will, Ieyasu stated that a shrine should be built in Nikko to his honour. The shrine was completed in 1617. However, his grandson did not find it good enough, but ordered a much more elaborate mausoleum to be built. And this is Tosho-gu, the very biggest attraction in Nikko.