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 no evil' simians demonstrate principles of Tendai Buddhism.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Nikkō attractions

1. 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 …

2. 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…

3. 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 …

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. Omote-mon

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Tōshō-gū's main gateway, protected on either side by Deva kings.

6. 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…

7. Sakashita-mon

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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…

8. Gōjūnotō

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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…