Iyeyasu himself devoted the last years of his life to collecting ancient manuscripts.
The gorgeous decoration of the mausoleum of Iyeyasu at NikkO, and of the gateway of the Nishi Hongwan temple at KiOto, are the most striking instances of his handiwork or direction.
The pillars, architraves, ceilings, panels, and almost every available part of the structure, are covered with arabesques and sculptured figures of dragons, lions, tigers, birds, flowers, and even pictorial compositions with landscapes and figures, deeply carved in solid or open workthe wood sometimes plain, sometimes overlaid with pigment and gilding, as in the panelled ceiling of the chapel of Iyeyasu in Tokyo.
Iyeyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty of shoguns, directed that his body should be interred at NikkO, a place of exceptional beauty, consecrated eight hundred years previously.
About thirty years later the town fell into the hands of Hojo of Odawara, and on his overthrow by Hideyoshi and Iyeyasu, the castle was granted to the latter, who was the founder of the shogun house of Tokugawa.
In 1590 Iyeyasu made his formal entry into the castle of Yedo, the extent of which he greatly enlarged.
The castle was founded in 1583 by Hideyoshi; the enclosed palace, probably the finest building in Japan, survived the capture of the castle by Iyeyasu (1615), and in 1867 and 1868 witnessed the reception of the foreign legations by the Tokugawa shoguns; but in the latter year it was fired by the Tokugawa party.
Then came a time of repression and persecution under Iyeyasu, whose second edict in 1614 condemned every foreigner to death, forbade the entry of foreigners and the return of Japanese who had left the islands, and extinguished Christianity by fire and sword.