Nikko, Memorial to the
        Shogun, Tokugawa
This 5-story pagoda, originally built in 1650, introduces the
Tosho-gu Shrine in Nikko, final resting place of the Shogun
Tokugawa Ieyasu.  He created a hereditary Shogunate that
ruled a feudal, isolationist Japan from 1600 to 1868.  
Tokugawa's grandson constructed buildings of a grandeur
highly unusual for Japan.  It's all an elaborate tribute to the
powerful Shogun, including this colorful gate to the next level.
Here, on the Sacred Stable, is the monkey carving of "hear
no evil, speak no evil, see no evil", that was a worldwide hit.
This level also includes the Three Sacred Storehouses, of
which the most famous is pictured above.  Gaudy in gold and
red, it features imaginative depictions of elephants,  clearly
based upon guesswork and rumors as to their appearance.  
Since Japan has no elephants, the artist made up his own,
which you can see close up immediately below.  
An even more ornate golden gate brings us to the highest
level, from which it is possible to climb stairs and reach
Shogun Tokugawa's comparatively modest tomb.  
Japan
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free streaming video of this trip,
"Castles of the Rising Sun", by clicking on:
http://www.adventurepics.com/IBE/video1.aspx?
VF=RisingSun.wmv