Gorgeous and precise art work
Speaking of Nikko in Tochigi, “Nikko Toshogu” comes to mind first. In fact, there are other historical shrines and temples such as Nikko Futarasan Shrine and Nikko Sanrinnoji Temple. Together, these three were registered as World Heritage Sites in 1999.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine was built in 1636 by Iemitsu TOKUGAWA, 3rd Tokugawa Shogun, to worship his grandfather Ieyasu. It was based on Ieyasu’s testimony: “After a year, let me build a small temple in Nikko and worship it.”
In 1616 Ieyasu Tokugawa died in Suruga. In April of the following year, the main building of Toshogu Shrine was completed, and Toshodai Gongen (Ieyasu) was enshrined at Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Later, in 1636, the government-owned major rebuilding was started for Ieyasu’s 21 anniversary. It is at this time that the current solemn and glorious shrine was built.
Nikko is located just north of Edo. Ieyasu tried to watch the security of the Edo Shogunate from this land with the North Star behind. According to Ieyasu’s will, Iemitsu gathered all the best techniques of the time and built Toshogu Shrine. As a result, a building that can be said to be a gorgeous and precise art work is completed. The sculpture was also carved by a master craftsman of the time. A total of 508 sacred beasts are carved, including three famous monkeys, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, and some are imaginary animals.
The Nikko Futarasan Shrine mentioned above is older than Toshogu Shrine. A shrine built in the Nara era as the center of mountain worship with the entire Nikko Mountain Range as a sacred area. Nikko Rinno-ji was founded as a temple of the Tendai sect during the Heian period and declined during the Sengoku period, but regained its strength in the Edo period.
The spirit of Iemitsu is also enshrined at Rinnoji-Taiyuin, about 300 meters away from Toshogu. Iemitsu’s will to serve beside Ieyasu, who he respects even after his death, was built here. Despite such a long history, the wonderfulness of Toshogu Shrine can be said to be a representative culture that Japan boasts to the world.
Introducing the access to Nikko Toshogu Shrine. From Tokyo 23 wards, get on from Tobu Railway Asakusa Station and get off at Tobu Nikko Station. The required time is about 1 hour and 50 minutes when using the limited express “Kegon”, and about 2 hours and 5 minutes when using the rapid train.
Furthermore, it is possible to get on the Japan Railway Sanyo Main Line East Japan Limited Express “Nikko” from Shinjuku Station and get off at Tobu Nikko Station. In this case, the required time is about 2 hours.
Charms and Highlights of “Nikko Toshogu”
55 buildings including 8 national treasures and 34 important cultural assets
Shrines and temples in Nikko city, Tochigi prefecture, which are registered as World Heritage sites. The most famous one is Nikko Toshogu Shrine. The first generals of the Edo shogunate, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA is enshrined as God (Tosho Daigongen). This shrine is a peaceful and relaxing spirit of mind created by the approach paths that made use of the natural topography and the majestic group of shrines. The current group of shrines was rebuilt in “rebuild of Kanei era” by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third generation general. There are 55 buildings including 8 national treasures and 34 important cultural assets. Buildings are decorated with lacquer and vivid colors, and on the pillars and walls there are carvings of more than 5000 sculptures expressing academic thought. And they are also famous as power spots because they are thought to be made by Ieyasu ‘s idea that cherished Feng Shui and Yin Yang philosophy.
In the premises there is “Toshogu Treasure House” which collects and displays exhibits of Ieyasu, memorial items from courtiers, shoguns, Daimyo families. In addition, “Toshogu Museum of Art” that you can appreciate artworks such as wall painting and hanging scroll has been exhibited. In addition, there is “Toshogu Butokuden Hall” of a tangible cultural property that is also used as a venue for kendo practice and kendo festival.
In Toshogu Shrine, a magnificent event will be held twice a year. “Spring season festival” in May and “Autumn Great Festival” in November. In addition, the traditional event Yabusame (the art of shooting arrows on horseback) will be held in a wide approach to the front of Stone Torii. The wonderful bow of the shooters on horses are masterpiece. In addition, “Procession of 1,000 people” is a reproduction of the line when Ieyasu’s coffin was moved to Nikko, and you can enjoy the sight that three mikoshi and warriors walk through in long rows.
The shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu have been enshrined
The “Nikko Toshogu Shrine” that is the most famous in the Shrines and the Temples of Nikko is the Shinto shrine where Tokugawa Ieyasu was enshrined. The current main shrine group was rebuilt in “Kanei no Daizoutai” (Major Alteration in Kanei period) by the third Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu. The architectural beauty of the early years of the Edo Period, which being lacquered and rich colored on the building, is seen in it.
There are many sights to see in the Nikko Toshogu Shrine including the three wise monkeys ‘which neither see, speak nor listen’. By order of the third Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu that “You may spend as much money as you want for the construction and the design” in this Toshogu, it had been built luxuriously.
More than 500 sculptures are engraved
The splendid main shrine, five-storied pagoda, gate, garden lanterns form a line in the precincts, all of them are solemn and splendid. The gorgeously coloured Yomei-mon Gate is particularly famous in that. It is also called “Higurashi-mon Gate”, because it is so beautiful that you see it until a day goes down.
This gate that more than 500 sculptures are engraved was designated National Treasure.
In the God stable, that famous “three monkeys” are seen. You may feel the actual carved figure is little small.
The Toshogu annual festival
The Toshogu annual festival is held as a yearly event twice in spring and summer in Toshogu. “Sennin Musha Gyoretsu” (a procession of one thousand samurai), a procession that carries Mikoshi (portable shrine carried in festivals) goes up and down a sando (an approach to the temple), and Yabusame, which a Shinto religious horseback archery ceremony, are performed.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Nikko Toshogu Shrine|
|Adresse:||Sannai 2301 Nikko, Tochigi 321-1431 Japan|
|Access:||JR Nikko-sen Line “Nikko-eki Station” (10 minutes by car)|
|Price:||1,300 yen (Adult)|
450 yen (Elementary ⁄ Middle School Students)
Please refer the official web page.