If you are in Tokyo, you are in a perfect place to go on a day trip to Nikko.
Nikko is only a 2.5 hour drive or train ride from Tokyo, and a very popular destination to have a “break” from busy Tokyo and experience another side of Japan.
The most popular attraction in Nikko is the Nikko Toshogu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nikko Toshogu is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the ruler of Japan for 250 years until 1868. The beautiful and complex shrine and its dozen or more buildings are located in a forest. The design of Nikko Toshogu, with its detailed carving, use of many gold leafs, colourful architecture was unseen in Japan, and truly a national treasure.
We are sure you are going to be mesmerised with the stunning beauty of Nikko Toshogu, but there are also many details we don’t want you to miss!
Nemurineko (Sleeping Cat)
You may notice that there are many animals symbolized in Nikko Toshogu. Most of the animals here represent “peace”. The sleeping cat is said to be “pretending” to sleep but ready to come at you if it must, or, another synopsis is that the atmosphere is so peaceful that even a cat id asleep.
Three Wise Monkeys
These three monkeys each covering either their mouth, ears, or eyes, is globally known to represent the “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil” pose, derived from the Buddhist teaching. The explanation is that if we don’t hear, speak, or see no evil, we could refrain from evil. The monkeys were selected from the belief that monkeys will cast away evil, and protect horses from disease.
Ishidorii Gate (Stone Torii Gate)
The stone used for the entrance of Nikko Toshogu was transported all the way from Kyushu by ship.
This is the first gated encounter at Nikko Toshogu. It’s also called the Nio Gate because of the two guardians on the sides of the gate.
Gojunoto (Five Story Pagoda)
This pagoda was built in 1650, but was burned down during a fire in 1945. It was rebuilt in 1818, each story representing an element of earth, water, fire and wind.
There is much Japanese historical beauty to see at Nikko Toshogu. It’s a must visit, especially when in Tokyo!
8:00-17:00 (April – October)
8:00-16:00 (November – March)
*Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time throughout the year.
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