Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Japan Nov 2009 Day 7 (part 1)

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

A bus that brought us around the World Heritage sites in Central Nikko.

Nikko

A monitor located behind the driver seat which shows the route and stops along the Nikko World Heritage Sites

Nikko

A dragon “ryu” spouting water, under the statue of buddhist monk hermit Shoto, just outside Rinnoji.

Nikko

All NIkko Pass and admission tickets to Rinnoji, Toshogu and Futarasan Shrine respectively.

Nikko

School children on an excursion to Rinnoji.

Nikko

Rinnoji, a buddhist temple founded by Shodo Shonin when he came to Nikko to “civilise” the mountains. This temple is famous for 3 emormous statues of Buddha, a thousand-hand Kannon and a “horse-head” kannon in the main hall. Photography is unfortunately strictly prohibited, and we complied out of reverence and respect for the religion and the history of the place.

Nikko

Rinnoji

Nikko

Toshogu Shrine, a mausoleum of  Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Nikko

Nikko

Steps lined with giantic cypress leading up to a stone torii.

Nikko

One passes through the largest stone torii in Japan when visiting the Toshogu.

Nikko

Five-storey pagoda, “Gojunoto”

Nikko

Tiger statue, which guards the right window of the pagoda, part of the 12 chinese zodiac signs which are carved around the first level

Nikko

A rabbit, above the main door of the pagoda.

Nikko

Dragon statue, which guards the left window of the pagoda.

Nikko

The base of the five-storey pagoda, embellished with intricate details of artwork and craftsmanship

Nikko

The gate entrance of Toshogu Shrine, guarded by deva kings.

Nikko

Nikko

Aun, a deva king guarding the main gate, Omote-mon. They are better known as Kongōrikishi (金剛力士) or Niō (仁王) , guardians of Buddha.

Nikko

Nikko

Raising his palm, halting any evil from entering the sacred premises.

Nikko

Golden elephants on the inner side of the main gate “Omote-mon”. Its intriguing to see a large number of elephant statues and motifs around Toshogu, considering that Tokugawa Ieyasu would probably not have seen a real one in his life time.

Nikko

Statue of a lion, guarding the inner side of the Omotemon.

Nikko

Statue of a “kirin” (麒麟) a mythlogical creature, usually paired with the lion. Notice how the mouth of the kirin is sealed while that of the lion is agape. This pair of “expressions” is mirrored in many paired characters or creatures.

Nikko

bronze lantern amidst stone lanterns

Nikko

A line of buildings is called “Sanjinko”, sacred warehouses now used to house costumes for the Procession of a Thousand Warriors (Sennin Musha Gyoretsu) that takes place each May (Spring Festival) and October (Autumn Festival) . The warehouses also store the equipment for Yabusame (archery on horseback). This is the “lower warehouse” of the trio.

Nikko

Side flank of the lower warehouse of “Sanjinko”.

Nikko

The middle warehouse of “Sanjinko”.

Nikko

A bronze lantern at Toshogu, Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Crowd gathering before the horse stable for pictures of the sanzaru monkeys

Nikko

Japanese obasans taking photos, many of whom are dolled up for the occasion.

Nikko

Sanzaru

Nikko

The renowned “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” monkeys knowned as “sanzaru” in Japanese, carved on the “Shinkyusha” , the sacred horse stable. Monkeys in Japanese folklore are regarded as guardians to the horses. Reminds me of how the Jade Emperor first made Sun Wukong aka the Monkey God an “official” in charge of the imperial stable from “Journey to the West”.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4001/4582817721_217fbdfe27.jpg

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

The crowd is starting to build up, with groups of school kids on excursions…

Nikko

More elephants… with manes like lions?!

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Yōmeimon taken without flash

Nikko

Yōmeimon taken with flash

Nikko

Nikko

3 old men playing chess, as part of the intricate caricature that dorns the roof of Yōmeimon.

Nikko

This statue of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a daimyo of the Sengoku civil war era who unified Japan, also the builder of Osaka Castle, occupies the right (east) side of the Yōmeimon.

Nikko

The walls of the Yōmeimon are lavishly decorated, including this pair of Chinese lions

Nikko

Yōmeimon, with excursion groups of children with striking red caps. Notice how fast they caught up with us; they were still at the horse stable when we took an earlier photo from the top of the flight of steps leading up to Yōmeimon.

Nikko

Nemuri Neko, the famed sleeping cat at the “Kuguri-mon Gate “, an inner entrance leading to the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Its supposedly a personification of peace, which is probably Tokugawa’s dire desire after a long and sedulous pursuit and struggle for power.

Nikko

A pair of sparrows, carved on the other side of the Kugurimon, seemingly in an almost ecstatic state of euphoria knowing that the cat is asleep.

Nikko

The group of “red cap” children had gone ahead of us, creating a delightful contrast of red amidst the surrounding greenery.  Apparently they have a questionnaire to fill up, which includes a question on the number of steps that lead from Kugurimon to the actual grave!

Nikko

Entrance gate made of bronze to the final resting place of the Shogun.

Nikko

Nikko

Even the base of the pillars are embellished to the finest detail.

Nikko

Large bronze door

Nikko

The final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu. His remains are said to be housed in this bronze urn.

Nikko

A small building in front of Tokugawa’s grave, housing an altar

Nikko

Altar within small building in front of Tokugawa’s grave.

Nikko

A bronze torii that guards Tokugawa’s final stop.

Nikko

Nikko

A sedan, presumably used for the spring and autumn processions, likening those seen at theTokyo-Edo museum and Asakusa.

Nikko

The other side of the Yōmeimon is occupied by a figure representing Yoritomo Minamoto, the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate in 1192.

Nikko

A bronze lantern presented as a gift to Tokugawa by the ambassador of the Netherlands. Interestingly, the motifs of the emblems of the Tokugawa clan , located above the twilled pillars were inverted, A mistake… or was it?

Nikko

Bunch of high school boys on excursion as well. As can be seen, its a very cold day

Nikko

The other statue of the Deva king at the Omotemon, as we adjourned from Toshogu.

Nikko

Futarasan Jinja

Nikko

Nikko

Nikko

Wine Offerings to the Shinto Gods beside the tall Japanese cypress.

Nikko

Nikko

The Japanese cypress trees are deemed as sacred and dorn with a straw-weaven rope

Nikko

Roof of one of the buildings in the Futarasan Jinja estate. We didn’t spend much them here, partly because we were kinda on the rush to get back to Central Nikko to catch the bus to Chuzenji-ko. Then again, this jinja was kinda boring, probably overshadowed by the majesty and grandeur of Toshogu.

Nikko

Nikko

Koyo @Futarasan Jinja

Nikko

I thought this shot particularly caught the ambience at that moment, lamp post et. al.

Nikko

Koyo near Futarasan Jinja

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4 responses

  1. Pingback: Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – 嵐山 愛宕念仏寺 Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji « travellingfoodies

  2. Great photos! Were all of these taken at the Toshogu Shrine? I especially want to know about the sanzaru monkeys. thanks!

    January 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      yes indeed! they are taken at Toshogu Shrine in Nikko :)

      The Sanzaru monkeys represent “See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil” respectively, basically embracing a very Buddhist doctrine to keep one’s soul cleansed and pure, not to be perturbed by any worldy influences.

      February 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm

  3. Pingback: Japan Mar 2011 Day 5 – 平野神社 北野天满宫 « travellingfoodies

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