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Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered

Yomeimon Gate from below the stairs

Today, I made a quick trip to Toshogu Shrine in Nikko to check out the newly restored Yomeimon Gate. The gate has been covered up for restoration works for the last four years and was unveiled to the public on March 10, 2017. Initially estimated to take about six years, construction was sped up so that tourism would not be affected for too long.

Looking at the roofs of the buildings on the way up to Tokugawa Ieyasu's mausoleum

My main purpose was to see the uncovered Yomeimon Gate, and I was not disappointed. Even if it is your first time to Toshogu, it won't be difficult to pick out the newly renovated gate. The Yomeimon - with the reputation of being one of the most beautiful gates in Japan - was very white and almost blindingly shiny! Over 500 ornate carvings cover the gate, mythical animals, people and stories all make their appearance on the one gate.

It was said that all the best craftsmanship available in the Edo Period was sourced to create the gate. As a result, the Yomeimon Gate stands out for its architectural elements and ornate carvings, and is nicknamed the Sunset Gate as one could spend all day looking at the gate and still not be able to grasp all its wonders.

The blue tablet bears the title of the god, Tosho Daigongen (Tokugawa Ieyasu), who is enshrined at Toshogu
Carvings everywhere
Two dragons looking down from under the gate
The pillars are so shiny compared to the rest
Lost count after a while

The last major restoration works on the shrine were done during the Showa Period, spanning a total of 36 years from 1950 to 1986. This time, the major renovation, named the Great Heisei Renovation, started in 2007 and is slated to take a total of up to 18 years. The works on the Yomeimon Gate were part of the Great Heisei Renovation. At the moment, the only renovation works underway are on the roofs of the shrine's haiden and honden halls and on some of the carvings. But because of the wealth of other buildings and carvings, the works have only a minor impact on a visit.

This carving of the three monkeys is a replica while the real one is being renovated (to be completed in March 2017)
The renovation of the carving of the sleeping cat was completed recently
Scaffolding covering the haiden and honden halls
Restoration works to the see-through wall is complete and are now covered by a plastic panel
Looking through

Located just 125 kilometers north of Tokyo, Nikko is a doable day trip from the city. The one way journey from Tokyo takes about two hours. More detailed access information can be found here.

Visitors praying by the mausoleum
Guardian lion-dogs guarding the entrance to the tomb
Stone lanterns line the path towards Futarasan Shrine
Looking down the main approach and the stone torii gate at Toshogu
Visitors at Toshogu

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List of Posts:
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report