Rinnoji is considered to be the most important temple in Nikko. It is the first place of worship in Nikko, founded by Shodo Shonin, who is the first Buddhist monk to introduce Buddhism to Nikko way back on 8th century. It was erstwhile called Shironryu-ji.
The temple's main building dubbed as "Sanbutsudo" enshrines the enormous, gold-laquered wooden statues of Amida-nyorai (the Buddha Amitabha or Buddha of infinite Light), Senju-Kannon (the goddess with a thousand hands), and Bato-Kannon (the Kannon with a horse head).
Opposite of the Sanbutsu-do, is the Treasure Museum (entry: 300 yen) that exhibits wide selections from Buddhist heritage counting to 6,000 objects.
There is also a beautiful garden near, the Shoyo-en stroll garden where you can leisurely walk and enjoy the laid-back ambience. It is a miniature version of Lake Biwa.
Rinno-ji can be accessed from JR or Tobu Nikko Station, and a bus that unloads at Shinkyo bus stop. Alternatively, it is 29-30 minutes on foot from the station. Rinnoji is located on the left after the sacred bridge.
Rinno-ji, Tosho-gu, Futarasan, and Taiyu-in is situated in the same site, north of the Shin-kyo bridge. The temples and shrines be accessed in a combined ticket worth 1000 yen, except for the Treasure Museums of Rinno-ji and Tosho-gu, and the path leading to the tomb of Ieyasu with the sculpture of the Sleeping Cat (520 yen). However, the combined ticket was still suspended due to issues and lack of consensus between the shrines and temples.
The temple is open 8:00 to 17:00 (April-October) and 8:00-16:00 (November-March). Entrance costs 400 yen, when not included in the combined ticket with the temples near the Shin-kyo Bridge.
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