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Nikko Toshogu shrine

Nikko Toshogu shrineNikko Toshogu is a Shinto shrine located about 2 km northwest of Tobu Nikko station.
Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616, the founder of Edo government and the 1st Shogun) has been enshrined as a "god".

He died at current Shizuoka city in 1616.
In accordance with his will, his remain had been buried in Mount Kuno in Shizuoka for a year, then it was moved to Nikko the following year.
In 1617, Kunozan Toshogu shrine was built on Mount Kuno.

When the remain was buried in Nikko, only a small shrine was built. It is the current "Okumiya" shrine.
In 1634, Iemitsu Tokugawa, the 3rd Shogun and a grandson of Ieyasu, began to build the great shrine. Then the shrine completed in 1636. It's the Nikko Toshogu shrine.

In the precincts, there are many buildings.

The most famous building is "Yomeimon" gate which is the entrance to main shrine.
It is decorated by a lot of beauriful carvings.

Not only Yomeimon but also many other buildings have many carvings.
Especially we can find the carvings of various animals. It is said that they had been made as the symbols of peace.

"Sleeping cat" is the most famous carving. In Japanese, it is called "Nemuri-neko".
It means the peace that even a cat can sleep with an easy mind.

"Three monkeys" is also famous.
It means "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil". In Japanese, we say "Mizaru, kikazaru, iwazaru".
"Zaru" in the words is similar to "saru", so "saru" in Japanese means "monkey".
Therefore, one monkey covers his ears, one monkey covers his eyes, and one monkey covers his mouth, with their hands.

How to get to here

On foot

About 2.5 km from Nikko station. It takes about 40 minutes.

By route bus

  1. By route bus to Chuzenji or Yumoto-onsen, get off at Nishi-sando stop. About 6 minutes from Nikko station.
  2. From Nishi-sando stop, about 10 minutes on foot.
Map of Nikko



Main approach to Nikko Toshogu shrine
Entrance of Nikko Toshogu shrine
Five-story pagoda in Nikko Toshogu
Photo by Railstation.net
Carving of three monkeys
Stairs to Yomeimon gate
Yomeimon gate
Photo by Railstation.net
Carvings of Yomeimon
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun
Main shrine in Nikko Toshogu
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
A corridor in Nikko Toshogu
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
Okumiya shrine in Nikko Toshogu
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
Okumiya-Hoto (Tomb of Ieyasu Tokugawa)
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
Carving of sleeping cat Toshogu Museum

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