Sightseeing Spots

World-Heritage Shrines and Temples in Nikko

World-Heritage Shrines and Temples in Nikko

Nikko

The World-Heritage shrines and temples in Nikko attract many travelers from the world. The World Heritages consists of 2 shrines and 1 temple: the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple and Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine. The Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the most famous World Heritage in Nikko, enshrines Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo bakufu (shogunate),. The shrine encompasses a variety of architectures and sculptures registered as the national treasures or important cultural properties, allowing visitors to appreciate great-flamboyant architectural beauties.

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Nikko

The Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the most famous shrine of the World Heritages in Nikko, enshrines Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo bakufu (shogunate),, but most of it was renovated by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun, in the Great Reconstruction of the Kanei era in 1636. Inside the shrine, encompassed are 55 architectures including 8 national treasures and 34 important cultural properties. Each architecture is decorated with sculpture, japan and brilliant color coatings crafted by famous craftsmen selected and gathered from all over Japan. It is said that total 40 to 100 billion yen in present currency value was spent to create those great-flamboyant architectural beauties.

* The Yomei-mon Gate is currently undergoing renovation works, which are scheduled to last until March 2017.

Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple

Nikko

The history of the Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple started 1200 years ago, when Shodo Shonin (Saint Shodo),, who firstly served as the head priest of Nikko, founded the Shihonryuji Temple. Sanbutsudo Hall, the main temple, is one of the largest wooden architectures in Nikkousan, and houses Buddhist statues respectively symbolizing honchibutsu (original Buddhist divinity), of the holy three mountains in Nikko, such as Senju-Kannon (Kannon with a thousand arms: honchibutsu of Mt. Nantaisan), Amidanyorai (Amitabha Tathagata: honchibutsu of Mt. Nyohousan), and Bato-Kannon (Kannon with a horse head: honchibutsu o Mt. Tarosan),, which is 8m tall. In addition to the above, there are still many spots that visitors should not miss: such as the Gomado Hall that houses the statues of the gods of fortune such as Bishamonten, Daikokuten and Benzaiten; temple’s treasure house that exhibits the statues of Buddha and sutras registered as the national treasures or important cultural properties; Shoyoen garden, a Japanese-style garden that features a path around a pond.

* The Sanbutsudo Hall is currently undergoing major renovation works, which are scheduled to last until March 2021. During this period, the special path for viewing the inside of Sanbutsudo Hall from a height of 26m is available.

Taiyuin, Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple

Nikko

Taiyuin is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Iemitsu, a grandson of Tokugawa Ieyassu and the third Shogun of the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun),. Iemitsu who respected Ieyasu very much and renovated the Nikko Toshogu Shrine to the present state of magnificent splendor left his will to “serve Ieyasu even after his death.” To keep his will, Taiyuin was constructed at the place to face the Toshogu Shrine in a manner not to excess his grandfather’s mausoleum in terms of splendor. In addition to the main hall, ainoma (intermediate room), and Haiden (front shrine), that are registered as the national treasuers, this mausoleum has a variety of viewing spots for visitors, such as the magnificent Nitenmon Gate and Kokamon Gate. Not like the Toshogu Shrine, excellent craftsmanship are characteristically featured in the inconspicuous places in Taiyuin.

Kaisandou, Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple

Nikko

Kaisandou is the mausoleum of Shodo Shonin (Saint Shodo),, who firstly served as the head priest of Nikko. The mausoleum has a vermilion-lacquered, multistoried and square-styled hall that enshrines the wooden honzon (principal image of Buddha), Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo Bodhisattva),, which is said to be produced in the 14th or 15 century. This place is also known as a location that people can feel mystical energy of the god to protect the Nikko mountains.

Nikko Futarasan-Jinja Shrine

Nikko

In 766, Shodo Shonin (Saint Shodo), stepped into the mountains in Nikko. The Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine deifies Mt. Futarasan (Mt. Nantaisan),, the most symbolized mountain of those, as its object of worship, and, as an only shrine in the area, has been regarded as ujigamisama (a guardian of the place),, as well as the center of the mountain worship that has been believed in the area for long time. The precinct of the shrine is as large as about 3,400ha and contains the mountains of the Nikko National Park. In the area of the Nikko mountains, there are the main hall and front shrine, the single-layer Irimoya-zukuri-roofed architectures registered as the World Heritage, as well as shinen (shrine gardens), that spring water gushes out. This shrine is also famous for answering to prayers of those who seek good luck, pregnancy, smooth delivery of babies, and marriage tie.

Takinoo Shrine

Nikko

The Takinoo Shrine quietly stands in the sacred atmosphere with abundant trees. This shrine is an associated shrine of the Futarasan-jinja Shrine and is located at the place that is 1km away from the main shrine. This shrine enshrines Tagorihime no mikoto who is Kishin (God Empress), of Onamuchi no mikoto, the main enshrined deity of the Futarasan-jinja Shrine. This shrine is also famous for a “torii (gateway to shrine), to try for one’s luck”: It is said that if any person through a stone toward a small hole on the torii three times and the stone goes through the hole even once, he or she would meet something lucky. In addition, it has gained general popularity for answering to the prayers of those who seek marriage tie, pregnancy and smooth delivery of babies.

Shinkyo Bridge

Nikko

The Shinkyo is a beautiful, wooden and vermilion-lacquered bridge that is hung on the entrance to the holy Nikko mountains. There is a legend that when Shodo Shonin (Saint Shodo),, who firstly served as the head priest of Nikko, was not able to cross the Daiyagawa River and asked for help to deities and Buddhas, two snakes appered and transformed to this bridge. The bridge belongs to the Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine.