Part 1 World Heritage Sites in Nikko
Part 2 Other Visiting Spots in Nikko
Sleeping Cat (Nemurineko)
Part 1 World Heritage Sites in Nikko
Emiko, my wife, received again from her friend two round-trip tickets of Tobu Railroad to Nikko Station. It is the second or third time following the year 2009.
One-day trip? Surely not, this time either.
We naturally decided to stay there one night.

Where to stay? It is preferable to be near the Shrines and Temples of Nikko UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I looked up a suitable hotel on the Internet, and found "Kozuchi-no-yado" (Inn of Small Mallet) at the Rakuten Store. It was said to be within 10 minutes on foot from Toshogu Shrine.
There was one vacant room on December 12th.

Our original sightseeing plan was to see the shrines and temples of the World Heritage on both days. The plan on the second day was changed because of the finest weather. The detail of the day appears in the next chapter.

Now, let's go on a trip.
This time I skip the explanation of how we got to Nikko and what we did during our stay there other than seeing the following sights.

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World Heritage Sites in Central Nikko
December 12th, 2014 (1st day)

As soon as the train arrived at Tobu Nikko Station at 11:00, we hurried up into the information office.
Under the staff's advice we took the circle bus around the World Heritage sites, and got off at Taiyuin Mausoleum.

Taiyuin Mausoleum

Surely we visited this temple five years ago in December, 2009, as well as Futarasan Shrine, Toshogu Shrine and Rinnoji Temple in the World Heritage Site area of Nikko.
These buildings and their circumstances impressed me so much that I strongly wanted to visit them again and it was realized.

This mausoleum was built in memory of Iemitsu, third generation of the Shogunate. After his death in 1651, Emperor Gokomei granted him a posthumous Buddha name - Taiyuin.
According to the Shogun's will, Kokai, a high priest, completed construction of the mausoleum in 1653. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)
Front Gate (Nio-mon Gate)
Inside the fence of both wings at the building, statues of warrior gods are enshrined.
Sacred Fountain
The edifice of copper gabled-roof is supported by twelve granite pillars. In its graceful style and elaboration in details it surpasses a similar fountain in Toshogu.
The art of transparent engraving was applied for the first time to the metal articles. The picture of a dragon on the ceiling painted by Yasunobu Kano is said to be the greatest masterpiece among the paintings in Nikko Temples. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)
Sanctuary (Main Building)
Though small in scale, it presents sublime beauty in its craftmanship in details and harmony of colors - gold, red, blue - with the natural background.
Architecture of Toshogu is adopted here, but it is a genuine Buddhistic style, whereas in Toshogu both Shinto and Buddhistic styles are combined. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)

Other pictures of Taiyuin Mausoleum

Futarasan Shrine
Located between Toshogu Shrine and Rinnoji Taiyuin Mauzoleum, this shrine of plain architec-tural style is dedicated to the three Gongens (avators) of Nikko. The main building was constructed by Shogun Hidetada in 1619.
It is the oldest building among Nikko temples condensing in it the essence of arts during the early Edo period. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)

Last time we stayed here long and looked around the wide precincts. This time, on the other hand, we limited to stay in the central square, not knowing why.

Other pictures of Futarasan Shrine

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

This shrine is certainly the most famous in Nikko and has such reasonable value.
Yomeimon Gate, one of my expectations for this trip, was regrettably under construction. (The picture is from a certain Internet site.)
I took its picture when I came here in 2009, as follows.

In the wide precincts of Toshogu Shrine, Five-storied Pagoda, Three Monkeys, Karamon Gate, Holy Fire Temples, Sleeping Cat, Twelve Gods of War, Roaring Dragons, ....., .
Especially, the picture of a coiling dragon on the ceiling of the Honji-do Temple, called Roaring Dragon (Naki-ryu), was interesting to me this time, too.
When the priest struck wooden clappers on the floor just under the dragon's head, we heard exquisite jingling echoes. The priest continued it several times and the deafening noise sounded for a while each time.
No camera there. The picture (above right) is from a certain Internet site, as a matter of fact.

Five-storied Pagoda
Originally, this pagoda, in which the statue of Five Wisdom Buddha is enshrined, was donated in 1650 by Tadakatsu Sakai, a feudal lord, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1815. Four years later, his family reconstructed it. The pagoda gorgeously painted stands 34.3 meters high. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)
Three Monkeys
The three monkeys are part of carvings on the lintels of the sacred stable. The carving is especially popular as monkeys which represent seeing no evil, speaking no evil and hearing no evil. These three postures are derived from the "three major principles" of the Tendai sect. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)
Sleeping Cat
The engraving of a sleeping cat just below the tintel of a corridor leading to the main temple is said to be a work by Hidari Jingoro (Left-handed). Carvings on the lintel representing auspicious flowers and birds are masterpieces of sculpture due to their novelty of idea and freedom in technique. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)

Other pictures of Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Rinnoji Temple
The largest temple in Nikko mountains, it was built by Jikaku-daishi by order of Emperor Ninmei. It is a rare building representing architecture of the Tendai sect. ("The Outline of Nikko" by Rinnoji Temple)
The inside of Sanbutsu-do, the main hall of Rinnoji Temple, had been also under construction since 2007. No wonder it was all the same when we visited here before. Its completion is planned to be in 2018.
Reading: 12' 21"
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Part 1 World Heritage Sites in Nikko
Part 2 Other Visiting Spots in Nikko