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October 28, 2017 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part One

I would hazard to guess that many tourists who visit Tokyo would have likely visited Nikko as well since it is only two hours away from the big city. Despite visiting Japan so many times I have never been there... until 2017. This is a blog entry of my visit. Note that there are so much to see and do here, I am not able to post every single place I visited. This is part one of a series.

UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nikko is a very interesting place to visit and is famous the world over. Many tourists visit here to see the many temples and shrines, and also sample some of the unique cuisine here as well.

The first stop is Rinnoji Temple which is considered to be Nikko's most important temple. Unfortunately because of its ongoing restoration of Sanbutsudo Hall, there wasn't much to see from the outside other than the scaffolding. However, do not think there is nothing to see inside. They have opened up the hall to display many of the temple's ancient statues and artifacts. You can also learn about the restoration process and get a chance to see the three golden statue that currently sit in the main hall. It is forbidden to take photographs so you need to see it for yourself.

This is also where I bought my very first goshuin.() which is a stately book where shuin (), or seal stamps that are given to worshipers for their devotion to the temple or shrine. Consider it as the most spiritual stamp collection you can ever find. A shuin can cost from free (pay how you want) to ?600.

The scaffold shrouding Sanbutsudo Hall at Rinnoji Temple

The next location is the famous Path to Toshogu Shrine (Ƌ{ \Q) which is a very wide gravel path lined with tall evergreens, shrine buildings, and large stone retaining walls. You find many interesting things to photograph like the following.

Amazing red leaves with a temple building in the back.
Up the Path to Toshogu Shrine
Torii Gate at the base of Toshogu Shrine

One of the most well known shrines in the area is Toshogu Shrine (Ƌ{) which is a very elaborate shrine complex with many structures and buildings.

Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil, See no Evil

There are many amazing buildings in Toshogu Shrine such as this five-storey red pagoda.

Pagoda

One of the most anticipated landmarks in the shrine is the Yomeimon Gate which was under a major restoration plan for many years. I was fortunate enough to visit the gate as the construction was done in March 2017. The attention to detail of the gate and the large amount of gold leaf used is astounding.

The approach to Yomeimon Gate with the bell towers on both sides.
Closeup of Yomeimon Gate
Ornate detailing on the roof structure
Intricate detail of the individual wooden fitted joints
Dragon Painting on ceiling
Shrine Building

This concludes Part One of the Nikko travel report. The next one will talk about the other shrines and temples visited.

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List of Posts:
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Mt. Hakkoda (bcR)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Seafood Capital, Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Juniko
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Gono Line
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Tazawako (c)
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Kakunodate (p)
2018/10/17 - Tohoku Series: Akita (Hcs)
2018/10/16 - The Pokemon Cafe experience
2018/10/16 - Early Morning Meiji stroll
2017/11/11 - Tsukiji's (Truly) Last Breath
2017/10/31 - Yokohama - Western Port City
2017/10/30 - Tateishi Nakamise Shotengai - Stepping into a Time Warp
2017/10/29 - Oya History Museum - A Cavern in Time
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part Two
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part One
2017/10/27 - Aizu - Wakamatsu and Kitakata: Land of Ramen and Red Cows
2017/10/27 - Ouchijuku - Historic Town in Fukushima Prefecture
2017/10/25 - Noboribetsu - The Comforts of Hell!
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part One
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part Two
2017/10/23 - Sapporo - Fresh Seafood and Western History
2017/10/22 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Three
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part Two
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part One
2017/10/20 - All aboard the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Gran Class style
2015/12/06 - Tsukiji's Last Breath
2015/12/02 - Kawagoe Day Trip
2015/11/29 - Pokemon Train on the JR Ofunato Line
2015/11/29 - Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
2015/11/28 - Yamadera
2015/11/23 - The Architecture of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium