Nikko and the Procession of Warriors

The “procession of warriors” is a biannual event at the Nikko shrine. This event hosted each year in May and October. It commemorates the Tokugawa Shogunate, specifically Tokugawa Ieyasu who founded the Shogunate which ruled in peace for 250 years. The complex which contains over a dozen buildings, is the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu.  The Buddhist temples and Shintoist shrines here are nothing less than spectacular.  The sense of samurai history is even overwhelming.

The high point of this days in May and October feature a procession of 1000 samurai. re-enacting the re-internment of Tokugawa remains at Nikko.

During this festive occasion there are also demonstrations of martial skills such as Japanese archery (Kyudo) from horseback. Samurai were often expert horseman and had extraordinary combat skills in mounted archery.

The Tokugawa shogunate was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867.  Nikko is a World Heritage Site with five major temples and shrines and several minor facilities. Nearby is the Imperial summer palace. (or villa). The villa has 106 rooms and was erected in Nikko in 1899, using parts of a Tokyo residence that originally served the Tokugawa family and then was part of the Imperial Palace.

Nikko is located in the mountains and is a 90 minute train ride from Tokyo. It is a must see for the martial artist (or anyone else) visiting Japan.

 

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