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 beloved by Japanese visitors.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Nikkō attractions

1. Gōhonsha

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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…

2. Tōshō-gū

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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 …

3. Yōmei-mon

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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…

4. Honji-dō

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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…

5. Sanjinko

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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 …

6. Shinkyūsha

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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…

7. Okumiya

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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.

8. Nikkō Tōshō-gū Museum of Art

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