Must see attractions in Nikkō

  • Top Choice

    Tōshō-gū is Nikkō's biggest attraction, a shrine to the powerful shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616). No expense was spared: when the original structure …

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    Top Choice

    Taiyū-in, completed in 1653, is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Iemitsu (1604–51), the third Tokugawa shogun and grandson of Ieyasu. (Ieyasu was deified, which…

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    Adorned in gold leaf and some 500 carved images depicting folk tales, mythical beasts and Chinese sages, the 'Sunset Gate' is the most revered traditional…

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    Rinnō-ji's grand main hall, Sanbutsu-dō ('Hall of Three Buddhas'), was first built in 848; the current structure dates to 1645 and, with restoration work…

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    Futarasan-jinja was founded over 1200 years ago as a place to worship the mountain Nantai-san (2484m), his mountain consort, Nyohō-san (2483m), and their…

  • Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss

    Along this particularly scenic stretch of the Daiya-gawa, where white rapids swirl around rocks, is a row of Jizō statues, the small stone effigies of the…

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    Just to the left of the entrance to Futarasan-jinja is a 1km wooded path leading to Takinō-jinja, part of the greater shrine precinct. Just in front is…

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    The main shrine courtyard at Tōshō-gū includes the Honden (本殿; Main Hall) and Haiden (拝殿; Hall of Worship). Inside these halls are paintings of the 36…

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    Nikkō Tōshō-gū Museum of Art

    Bypassed by nearly everyone at Tōshō-gū is this marvellous museum, formerly the shrine's administrative office. It showcases fine, early 20th century…

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    To the west of Tōshō-gū's drum tower is this hall known for the painting on its ceiling of the Nakiryū (Crying Dragon). Monks demonstrate the hall's…

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    This five-tiered pagoda at Tōshō-gū is an 1819 reconstruction of the mid-17th-century original. Buying a supplementary ticket affords you the chance to…

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    In Tōshō-gū's initial courtyard are these 'Three Sacred Storehouses'; on the upper storey of the Kamijinko (upper storehouse) are relief carvings of …

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    This 'Sacred Stable' building in Tōshō-gū's outer courtyard is crowned with relief carvings of monkeys. The allegorical 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak…

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    Nikkō Tōshō-gū Museum

    Opened in 2015 for the 400th anniversary of Tokugawa Ieyasu's death, this modern building behind Rinnō-ji contains artefacts relating to the shogun,…

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    This museum has an interesting collection of temple artefacts, sculptures and scrolls. Admission includes entry to the lovely Edo-period garden Shōyō-en.

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    This gateway on the east side of the main inner courtyard of Tōshō-gū is famous for its decorative carving of a sleeping cat (Nemuri-neko), which is much…

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    A towering stone torii (entrance gate) at the head of the stone steps on Omotesandō leading up to Tōshō-gū, burial place of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

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    This Edo-era strolling garden can feel like a refuge from the temple crowds – except during autumn, when the turning leaves are a great attraction.

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    The appropriately solemn Okumiya, Ieyasu's tomb, is reached by some 200 steps through towering cedars to the rear of Tōshō-gū.