Photo/IllutrationThe restored “sanzaru” sculpture on March 30 at Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture (Takashi Kajiyama)

NIKKO, Tochigi Prefecture--It's back to monkey business at the Nikko Toshogu shrine as its trio of famous simians have finally got their make-up done.

The facility has spruced up its famous three wise monkey sculpture for the first time in about 60 years. The restoration was revealed to excited visitors at the UNESCO World Heritage site on March 31.

“I am delighted beyond words that they have been successfully restored,” said Ryoji Sawada of the Association for the Preservation of the Nikko World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples.

The sculpture is called “sanzaru” (three wise monkeys). Its paint had peeled and the deterioration had become more noticeable recently.

It is the most popular of the eight monkey sculptures in the shrine and demonstrates the proverbial “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil.”

The sculpture returned to its original position at the “Shinkyusha” building where a horse is said to serve for a god. The monkeys apparently take care of the horse.

The sanzaru sculpture is 142 centimeters wide and 44 cm in height. The Nikko Toshogu shrine was established in 1617 to enshrine Tokunaga Ieyasu, the founder and the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate.