The Nikko Toshogu Shrine is arguably one of the most important religious sites in Japan and is located in the forests of Tochigi Prefecture. The shrine is the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the samurai leader who united Japan in the early 1600s and the first ruler of the Tokugawa shogunate of the same name, which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868.
Originally a relatively simple mausoleum, Toshogu was expanded in the first half of the 16th century by Ieyasu's grandson Iemitsu to create the spectacular complex that can be visited today. The shrine complex consists of more than a dozen buildings, which have been refined with countless wood carvings and large amounts of gold leaf. This is very unusual as there is usually an emphasis on simplicity in shrine architecture. Toshogu contains both Shinto and Buddhist elements. The wood carving of the monkeys who see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil is best known.