Nikko Toshogu Shrine, The World Heritage Site
Almost all the shrine complexes we see were rebuilt in 1636, twenty years
after Tokugawa Ieyasu$B!G(Bs enshrinement.
Fifty-five buildings, including Yomeimon Gate (designated a National Treasure),
were completed in just one year and five months.
According to the financial records which are stored in the shrine, the
cost was equivalent to of 40 billion yen with current
monetary value. The renovation project was administered by Akimoto Yasutomo,
the governor of Tajima Province,
and the actual construction and carpentry work was the responsibility of
master carpenter Kora-Bungo Munehiro.
One of the special features of the shrine complex is the use of paths and
stairways that follow the natural topography
of the site, allowing the arrangement of the shrine buildings in a pleasing
balance to create a solemn, religious atmosphere.
The buildings are lacquered and decorated with vibrant colors, and the
pillars and other structures are covered in
a multitude of carvings. The carvings not simply design elements; they
convey expressions of religious belief as well as
scholarship and philosophy.
(L) Sacred Bridge, part of the Futarasan Shrine$B!!(B $B?@66(B
The Sacred Bridge crossing the Daiya River belongs to the Futarasan Shrine.
This vermilion lacquered
structure is known as one of the three most beautiful bridges in Japan
and is a perfect gateway for Nikko.
The bridge was registered as a World Heritage in December 1999. It measures
28 meters long, 7.4 meters
wide, and stands 10.6 meters above the Daiya River.
(R) The entrance to Toshougu Shrine and Stone Torii Gate$B!!(B$BF|8wEl>H5\I=;2F;(B
The important cultural property Ishidorii Gate was dedicated in 1618 by
Kuroda Nagamasa, the feudal lord of
Kyushu Chikuzen (present day Fukuoka Prefecture). The stone for the use
of the gate was transported by ship from Kyushu
to Koyama and then manually hauled over land to Nikko.
As designated an Important Cultural Property, the Gojunoto Pagoda was dedicated
in 1648 by Sakai Tadakatsu,
the feudal lord of Obama in Wakasa Province (present day Fukui Prefecture).
It was destroyed by fire in 1815 and
rebuilt in 1818 by Sakai Tadayuki, a lord of the same lineage.
Front Gate $B!!I=Lg(B
Omotemon (Front Gate ) : Omotemon Gate is the first gate at Toshogu Shrine,
as designated an Important Cultural Property.
It is also called Nio Gate because of the two guardian deity statues positioned
in the left and right.
Sacred Stable and Three Wise Monkeys $B!!(B$B;01n(B
There is a frieze of eight panels of carvings of monkeys running through
the building, depicting the lives of ordinary people.
Monkeys have been regarded as guardians of horses since ancient times.
Carving of three monkeys, 'See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil', is
This is the very famous sculpture of 'The wise three monkeys, 'sees no
evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil'
One of the most beautiful gates in Japan, Yomeimon Gate is said to have
been given the name of 'Main Gate of
the Imperial Court'. It is also called 'Gate of the Setting Sun', because
one could gaze upon it all day and never tire.
It is covered with over 500 carvings depicting traditional anecdotes, children
playing, sages and wise men.
(L) Sacred warehouse $B7PB"(B (R) Bell Tower $B>bO0(B
(L) Omizuya (Water Purification Building)$B!!(B$B8f?e$B!!(B(R) A sourvenir photography of a group abroad
As an important cultural property, this facility is used to purify body
and mind by washing hands of warshipers and
rinsing out mouth before worshiping the enshrined deity. The basin was
dedicated in 1618 by Nabeshima Katsushige,
feudal lord Saga, Kyushu.
(L) A decoration of Youmeimon (R) sleeping cat$B!!(B$BL2$jG-(B
A dozing while surrounded by peonies and bathed in sunlight by the master
caver, Hidari Jungoro.
As designated a National Treasure, this carving of is also said to be a
depiction of Nikko (Nikko means the sunlight).
Karamon Gate, under repair construction
The entire Karamon Gate is painted with a white powder chalk. It features
intricate carvings of Kyoyu and Soho
(legendary Chinese sages), an audience with the emperor, and other scenes.
The Main Shrine consists of the Honden (Main Hall), Ishinoma (Stone Chamber),
and Haiden (Worship Hall).
It is the most important area at Toshogu Shrine. Annual festivals and events
are conducted here.
(L) Two sparrows are caved on the opposite side of the sleeping cat. (R)
A stairway to Okugu
(L) A stairway to Okugu (R) The gate of Okugu
The copper treasure tower of Okusha is the tomb of Ieyasu Tokugawa, and
it seems that the remains are buried under.
(L)Cedars to hear your wishes$B!!(B$B3p?y(B (R) Cidar giant tree in Toshogu Shrine
(L) A guardian samurai $BM[L@Lg$N?o?H!J?o?@(B$B!K(B (R) Rotary lantern $B2sE>EuO6(B
A guardian dog$B!!(B$BM[L@Lg$N9}8$(B
Nagasaka Fall along the side slope to Toshou-gu Shrine
In spring time, the amount of water increased because of snow-melting water.
Nikko Tosho-gu shrine in autumn 2017
To and from Nikko: A railway trip
The historic sites of Nikko are about 120 km north of central Tokyo, and
getting there by train is easiest.
There are two train stations at Nikko: Tobu Nikko and JR Nikko.
The stations are only about 100 meters apart. However, the Tobu Railway
route departing from Asakusa Station
is the quickest and the most popular.
JR East and Tobu Railway from Shinjuku:
JR East and Tobu Railway Specia train usually departs from the platform 6 of JR Shinjuku station, and
use JR tracks on part of their journey to Tobu Nikko Station. These services
are called Specia-Nikko or
Specia-Kinugawa. They take about two hours to reach Tobu Nikko. The express
train track enters to
Tobu railway line at Kurihashi station, and the railroad track branches
off to the kinugawa line at Shimoimaichi station.
From JR Shinjuku Station:
Shonan-Shinjuku Line trains run to Utsunomiya Station, where a transfer
is required to the JR Nikko Line
running to Nikko. The journey takes around 2 hours and 40 minutes.
There is another route to and from Ueno or Tokyo station to Utsunomiya,
using Ueno-Tokyo line.
(L) An express train Nikko #1 is just arrived at JR Nikko station (R) Intrior
of the Nikko #1 train. All seats are reserved.
(L) A train is passing the bridge over Tone River.
(L) As the train is approaching, we can see Nantaisan Mountain ( Alt, 2,486M
) through the train window.
(L) A train is just arrived at Tobu-Nikko station. (R) The exterior of
Mikko Tobu Specia express train ready to start from Tobu-Nikko station.
(L) A Specia-express train at Tobu-Nikko station (R) Guidance plate at
(L) Many rail-fan are watching the steam locomotive turning at the turn-table.
(R) Shimoimaich locomotive depot
(L) A Specia-express train is arriving at Shimoimaich station. (M) A corridor
of the deluxe compartment train (R) Interior of a private room of the compartment
(L) Air-conditioning-system panel is provided at the private room. (M)
Specia-express train arrived at JR Shinjuku station.
(R) The exterior of a compartment vehicle of Tobu-Specia train
Nikko Lake-Chuzenji Autumn Tours
Hotel Shikisai, Nikko
Smoke-free Hotels in Japan
A summary of smoking-room rate studied in local hotels of Japan
Smoking Restriction at Hotels in the World: Actual Survey
The ratio of a smoking guest room to the total hotel rooms was calculated,
based on-the-spot investigation.
Nikko, Lake Cuzenji and Mt. Hangetsu (2017)
$B!!(B $B<9I.(B $B!!6X1l@J%M%C%H
$B!z(BThis Web site is link-free.
This information was provided by the Smokefree Hotel and Travel.
The article was written in March 2018.
All photography was taken by Dr. Junhaku Miyamoto in March 2018.
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