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Japan trip report #7: Nikkō - Lethargic Man (anag.)

Lethargic Man (anag.)
Date: 2018-08-11 22:54
Subject: Japan trip report #7: Nikkō
Security: Public
Tags:japan, trip reports

Today we're going to go on a trip to Nikkō,* a town in the mountains quite some distance north of Tokyo. Nikkō is famous for its imperial shrine and temple complex, which is extremely sumptuous, and was for me the highlight (along with the fireflies I saw in Kyoto) of my holiday in Japan; many of these photos are worth clicking through to the high resolution versions.

* Pronunciation guide: long I, as in "knee" (don't ask me why it's not marked with a macron too), K doubled in length.

We approach the complex along an avenue of stone lanterns:

[5.24.avenue of lanterns]

Of course entry to the area of shrines is marked by a Torii gate:

[5.09.torii gate to shrine]

Let's have a look at the Tōshō-gū shrine, starting with a pagoda. Pagodas always have an odd number of storeys:


5.05.Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine]

Spot the elephant:

[5.07.Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine]

The three wise monkeys feature in the decoration:

[5.08.wise monkeys2]

This bell, according to Wikipedia, was a gift from the Joseon dynasty of Korea. (The rabbit was not.)


This was... something imperial, IIRC:

[5.13.Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine]

[5.14.Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine]

[5.15.Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine]

On particular festivals the enshrined kami are removed from the buildings in these portable shrines:

[5.21.portable shrines]

On the ceiling of the building housing the portable shrine are painted two tennyo sacred maidens.

[5.23.tennyo sacred maidens]

Photography was not permitted inside the buildings. (Nor was footwear.)

Above the complex, a footpath leads up the hillside to the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu: This is the man who, at first along with two others but ultimately (once one of them had been killed and the other died) put an end to a century and a half of civil war in Japan and founded a shogunate at the start of the seventeenth century that lasted for over two and a half centuries. I'd describe him as the second-most important person in Japanese history, in terms of the enduring impact he had on the country.

[5.18.tomb of tokugawa ieyasu]

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