Tosho-gu shrine is the most lavish among the temples in Nikko, because it is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and the first shogun (military dictator) of the last shogunate—the Tokugawa or Edo shogunate that ruled Japan for more than 250 years until 1868.
This shrine was his final resting place. The shogun was enshrined here as Tosho Daigongen, "Great Deity of the East Shining Light".
This is one of the places for worship in Japan, which contains and intermingles both elements of Shintoism and Buddhism.
The vast shrine complex surrounded with lush greens can wholly captivate everyone's eyes with the ostentatious architecture and art preserved here.
Upon entry, a beautiful vermillion five-tiered Pagoda will welcome visitors, located in front of the main entrance gate.
There are also captivating storehouses, which are ornated with beautiful carvings. The most famous are those of the "see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil" monkeys and the Sozonozo Elephants or imagined elephants, a sculpture made by someone who hasn't seen an elephant.
The Yomeimon Gate and Honjido hall are both grandiose and ornated with intricate designs. Inside the latter features the "Crying dragon" in the ceiling.
The main shrine building, located beyond the Yomeimon includes a prayer hall (or haiden) connected to the main hall (honden). These halls are dedicated to the spirits of Ieyasu, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Minamoto Yoritomo. Visitors can enter the building.
On the right side of the main shrine is where the Sakashitamon Gate is located. Its transom holds the famous sculpture of Nemurineko or the Sleeping Cat. Heading up to the Sakashitamon, visitors will see the tomb of Ieyasu.
Tosho-gu 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. Tosho-gu is located behind Rinno-ji.
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 suspended due to lack of consensus between the shrines and temples.
Tosho-gu shrine is open 8:00 to 17:00 (April-October) and 8:00-16:00 (November-March). Entrance costs 1,300 yen, when not included in the combined ticket with the temples near the Shin-kyo Bridge.
Here at Pop Japan, we pride ourselves on being one of the most passionate promoters of our nation. It is our strong belief that Japan has the ability to offer anyone a very fulfilling life.