Shrine sights in Nikkō
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Shōdō Shōnin founded this shrine; the current building dates from 1619, making it Nikkō's oldest. It's the protector shrine of Nikkō itself, dedicated to the nearby mountain, Nantai-san (2484m), the mountain's consort, Nyotai-san, and their mountainous progeny, Tarō. There are other shrine branches on Nantai-san and by Chūzenji-ko.
The entrance to the main shrine is through the torii (shrine gate) at Omote-mon (表門), a gate protected on either side by Deva kings.
Just inside are the Sanjinko (三神庫; Three Sacred Storehouses). On the upper storey of the last storehouse are imaginative relief carvings of elephants by an artist who famously had never seen the real thing. To the left of the entrance is Shinkyūsha (神厩舎; Sacred Stable), adorned with allegorical relief carvings of monkeys. The famous 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil' monkeys demonstrate three principles of Tendai Buddhism.
Just beyond the stable is a granite font at which, in accordance with Shintō practice,…
In between Futarasan-jinja and Taiyūin-byō a stone-paved path leads to Takinō-jinja (25 minutes), less grand than the main attractions and thus delightfully less crowded. The stone torii gate, called Unmeshi-no-torii, dates back to Iemitsu's time (1696). Before entering, it's customary to try your luck tossing three stones through the small hole near the top. Head back down to the fork in the path and take the trail to the left to pass a handful of small temples and the tomb of Shōdō Shōnin before coming out behind Rinnō-ji.