Nikko – Kanman Walk

One of my favourite places in Japan is Nikko, easily accessable an hour to the north of Tokyo in Gunma Prefecture. Its main attraction is the Toshogu Shrine. This is the final resting-place of Tokugawa Ieyasu who finally united Japan and began the 260-year Edo period, and Tokugawa Iemitsu, who instituted the sakoku national isolation policy. Just around the corner from this, however, is a little-known walking trail called the Kanman Walk, that takes you past some mysterious Jizo statues said to be uncountable.

First, cross over the main bridge for Toshogu but turn left:

 After that, the path runs beside the river into a small gorge dramatically called the Kanmangafuchi Abyss:

Crossing the river again, you come to a small park with an inscription of a poem by the mad Emperor Taisho:

Sleeves were wet by the spray at the river of Daiya.

Cold moonlight night comes over the shore.

This leads into a small path lined with the Jizo statues:


Zojiji Temple

This is Zojiji temple in Tokyo. It was first founded in 1393 and moved to the present site in 1598 as the family temple of the ruling shogun Tokugawa family, though most of the original buildings were destroyed in WWII.

This is original main gate, the Sangedatsumon, which dates from 1622. The large tree in the centre was planted by US president Ulysses S Grant.

This is the main hall, built in 1974, with Tokyo Tower in the background.

Behind the main buildings are hundreds of Jizo statues which commemorate stillborn or aborted children.