The Three Wise Monkeys of Toshogu Shrine in Nikko

In the heart of the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, you’ll find the original Three Wise Monkeys statue that has gained international fame. These revered carvings embody the timeless principles of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” transcending their origins to represent ethical standards. Not only do these carvings hold ancient significance, but the monkeys make for great photo opportunities, attracting tourists of all ages. Let’s delve into the world of the Three Wise Monkeys and find out the best way to experience their greatness.

What are the Three Wise Monkeys?

three wise monkeys at toshogu shrine

The Three Wise Monkeys are wooden carvings found in the Toshogu Shrine in the beautiful city of Nikko. So, what do the Three Wise Monkeys represent? Each monkey symbolizes a different aspect of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. This proverbial phrase dates back to ancient Japan, stemming from Confucius. His teachings often symbolized virtuous ways of living, encouraging everyone to avoid negative actions. The statue of the Three Wise Monkeys shows each monkey covering a different sense – eyes, ears, and mouth – rendering them incapable of seeing, hearing, and speaking evil.

Where are the Three Wise Monkeys Located?

Nikko Walking Tour - Nikko Toshogu Shrine temple in Nikkoat autumn, Japan
Nikko Toshogu Shrine temple in Nikko at Autumn, Japan

Tucked away in the lush greenery of Nikko National Park, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to great architecture, interesting culture, and a peaceful ambiance. The monkeys are just one element of the intricate carvings and statues adorning the Toshogu Shrine, a 400-year-old temple. This space was dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu – the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate Empire. While exploring the shrine complex, the Three Wise Monkeys stand out, highlighting moral principles within the sacred setting. Many spiritual seekers come from far and wide to see this iconic trio and learn more about what they represent.

Best Way to Visit the Three Wise Monkeys

The absolute best way to see the revered Three Wise Monkeys is by touring the Toshogu Shrine with a local expert. Discover the ancient carvings and gain incredible insight from an experienced guide. With our Mystical Nikko Walking Tour, you’ll get to experience all this and more while uncovering secrets of the past.

Furthermore, touring the shrine with us unburdens you from the hassle of planning your day. After a self-transfer from Tokyo, you’ll be met with a local guide in a centralized Nikko location. Spend the next few hours getting to know the charming surroundings as you wander mystical gardens and take in the rich atmosphere. Commune with nature, learn about Confucius’ teachings, and snap some unforgettable photos.

If you love Japanese culture, want to revel in stunning architecture, and have a hunger for ancient secrets, then this tour is made for you. This tour is about 5 hours long and should grace any Japanese itinerary, whether you’re visiting for a week or more. Learn how to plan your next perfect adventure in Japan by reading up on these top experiences.

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Unveil Ancient Treasures with Tourist Japan

The iconic trio of the Three Wise Monkeys has become a globally recognized symbol of ethical conduct. The best way to see the statue is to come visit Nikko for yourself and tour the incredible Toshogu Shrine. With Tourist Japan, such an experience is made easy as we’ll take care of all the logistics. Immerse yourself in the wisdom of the Three Wise Monkeys with our Mystical Nikko Walking Tour and let the rich cultural heritage of Nikko leave its mark on you.

If you plan on staying in Nikko for a while, browse our luxurious Nikko hotels to find great accommodations, like the Lakeside Hotel. Discover the city with our ultimate guide and find out how to get from Tokyo to Nikko. Of course, this is just one of the unique experiences you can enjoy in Japan. Check out all our day tours, tour packages, and private tours as we cater to every kind of traveler.

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