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Nikko Toshogu Shrine

When it comes to Nikko landmarks, there is none more famous and more extravagant than the stunning Toshogu Shrine, the resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and leader of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a feudal Japanese military government that ruled the nation for over 250 years. Consisting of over a dozen individual buildings that sprawl across the shrine grounds, the shrine is nestled in one of Nikko’s most beautiful forests.

  • Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Firstly envisioned to be a rather humble and simple mausoleum for Ieyasu, Toshogu over time evolved into the spectacular complex you see today, thanks to the commands of Ieyasu's grandson Iemitsu, who directed the building of the temple during the first half of the 1600s. Compared to the typical Japanese design ideologies of simplicity, it's the lavish design that makes it particularly unique and draws streams of visitors to its ground all year round. Featuring meticulously crafted wood-carvings and generous amounts of gold leaf, it’s an impressive sight you’d be hard pressed to experience anywhere else in Japan. The temple combines both Shinto and Buddhist elements, and was originally visited by member of both religions up until the Meiji Period when Shinto was intentionally separated from Buddhism.

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    There are a number of notable sites dotted around the shrines ground which provide a truly one of a kind opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Japan, however there’s one site you cannot bypass on your visit and that’s five story pagoda that commands center stage at the front of the main entrance gate. Impossible to miss, the pagoda features a very unique design quirk. The main pillar of the pagoda actually hovers around ten centimeters above ground, this feature was crafted to combat the lengthening and shrinkage of the wood over time and maintain the pagoda’s structural integrity. The interior of the pagoda is only periodically open to visitors, so it’s best to check the opening times in order to avoid disappointment.

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    If you’re eager to learn more about the figure that inspired this impressive structure head to the Nikko Toshogu Museum (Homotsukan). Opened in 2015 to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of Tokugawa Ieyasu's death, the museum features an impressive and well cared for collection of the former shogun's personal items from his armor and swords to personal letters that he penned.

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    There are a number of ways to get to Toshogu depending on your itinerary and time constraints. Located not too far from many of Nikko’s other other shrines and temples, Toshogu is a walkable distance from Tobu and JR Nikko Stations. Overall the trek from the station will take a 30-40 minute walk, which is the best way to get there if you’re interested in soaking up the area’s incredible scenery. If you’re strapped for time or have weary legs, you can get a taxi which will take around 10 minutes, or get the bus from the station. The 10 minute bus ride will cost 310 yen each way, or if you get the 500 yen day pass, a special ticket offered by Tobu Railway for those visiting Nikko, the journey will be covered by that.

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine
    Address
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Sannai 2301
    Phone
    0288540560
    Nikko Toshoguhomotukan
    Address
    Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Sannai 2301 Toshogu Shrine in Nikko
    Phone
    0288542558
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