An Unesco World Heritage Site in a pure characteristic setting, Tōshō-gū is an extravagantly lavish Shintō complex inside which Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), the main shogun and organizer of the Tokugawa Bakufu (Japan’s last medieval military government) is revered. Among its champion structures is the amazing ‘Nightfall Gate’ Yōmei-mon, a five-storied pagoda and the excellent Honji-dō with its well known ‘crying winged serpent’. The vast majority of what you see was authorized by Ieyasu’s grandson in 1636. Find tips go to japan here.
Segments of the sanctuary might be shut for fixes until 2020.
The stone strides of Omotesandō lead past the transcending stone torii (entrance entryway), Ishi-dorii, and the Gōjūnotō, a 1819 reproduction of the first mid-seventeenth century pagoda, to Omote-mon, Tōshō-gū’s principle passage, ensured on either side by Deva rulers.
In Tōshō-gū’s underlying patio are the Sanjinko; on the upper story of the Kamijinko (upper storage facility) are help carvings of ‘fanciful elephants’ by a craftsman who had never observed the genuine article. Close-by is the Shinkyūsha, embellished with help carvings of monkeys. The symbolic ‘hear no underhanded, see no malevolent, talk no detestable’ simians exhibit three standards of Tendai Buddhism.
Further into Tōshō-gū’s regions, to one side of the drum tower, is Honji-dō, a lobby known for the artistic creation on its roof of the Nakiryū (Crying Dragon). Priests show the corridor’s acoustic properties by applauding two sticks together. The mythical serpent ‘thunders’ (somewhat of a stretch) when the sticks are applauded underneath its mouth, however not somewhere else.
Reestablished in 2017, the Yōmei-mon astonishes with its gold leaf and fragile carvings of blooms, moving young ladies, legendary mammoths and Chinese sages. Stressing that the door’s flawlessness may excite envy in the divine beings, those in charge of its development had the last supporting column put topsy turvy as a conscious mistake.
Gōhonsha, the fundamental inward patio, incorporates the Honden (本殿; Main Hall) and Haiden (拝殿; Hall of Worship). Inside these lobbies are artworks of the 36 undying artists of Kyoto, and a roof painting design from the Momoyama time frame; note the 100 mythical beasts, each unique. Fusuma (sliding entryway) works of art delineate a kirin (a legendary mammoth that is part giraffe and part mythical serpent).
To one side of the Gōhonsha is Sakashita-mon, into which is cut a small wooden model of the Nemuri-neko that is acclaimed for its exact appearance (however as a matter of fact the fascination is lost on certain guests). From here it’s a tough way through transcending cedars to the properly serious Okumiya, Ieyasu’s tomb.
Skirted by about everybody at Tōshō-gū is the heavenly Nikkō Tōshō-gū Museum of Art in the old place of worship workplaces, exhibiting fine compositions on its entryways, sliding screens, casings and beautiful toparchments, some by bosses including Yokoyama Taikan and Nakamura Gakuryo. Pursue the way to one side of Omote-mon to discover it.