Iemitsu Mausoleum (Taiyuinbyo)

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Nitenmon Gate
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Taiyuinbyo (Q@_, Taiyūinbyō) is the mausoleum of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, the grandson of Ieyasu. Iemitsu's lavish mausoleum complex resembles nearby Toshogu Shrine in its layout and architecture, but it was intentionally built somewhat more modest than the Toshogu, due to Iemitsu's deep respect for his grandfather. Taiyuin is the posthumous name of Iemitsu.

Like the Toshogu, the Taiyuinbyo features a mix of Buddhist and Shinto structures. It was common for places of worship to contain elements of both religions until the Meiji Period when Shinto was deliberately separated from Buddhism. Across the country, Buddhist elements were removed from shrines and vice versa, but at Taiyuinbyo the separation was not carried out completely. While Toshogu was officially made a shrine, the Taiyuinbyo became a subtemple of nearby Rinnoji Temple.

Honden (back) and Haiden

A short walk west of Toshogu Shrine takes visitors to the vermillion Niomon Gate, the entrance to the Taiyuinbyo. Proceeding on leads to the more lavishly decorated Nitenmon Gate which is guarded by two heavenly kings, followed by two beautiful structures - a drum tower on the left and a belfry on the right.

Arriving at the Karamon Gate which stands majestically in front of the praying hall (haiden), look out for the famous sculpture of a white dragon that embellishes the transom of the gate. Visitors are allowed to enter the haiden and see its lovely interior decor featuring precious ornaments, an elegant coffered ceiling, nice carvings and gold lacquered pillars and walls.

The main hall (honden) is located just behind the haiden but can only be viewed from the outside. The two halls are connected by a short corridor and the structures combined have a slightly subtle yet grand-looking facade. Next to the halls at the innermost precincts is Tokugawa Iemitsu's mausoleum, which lends a composed and dignified charm to the temple.

Tokugawa Iemitsu's mausoleum

Get There and Around

Taiyuinbyo stands about 200 meters west of Toshogu, a 30-40 minute walk or 10 minute bus ride (310 yen one way, 500 yen day pass, covered by the free passes) from Tobu and JR Nikko Stations.

How to get to and around Nikko

Hours and Fees

Hours

8:00 to 17:00 (until 16:00 from November through March)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.

Closed

No closing days

Fees

550 yen
The sale of the convenient 1000 yen combination ticket has been suspended indefinitely due to a lack of consensus between the participating shrines and temples.
Last updated: December 22, 2013
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