Japan Nov 2009 Day 7 (part 1)
A bus that brought us around the World Heritage sites in Central Nikko.
A monitor located behind the driver seat which shows the route and stops along the Nikko World Heritage Sites
A dragon “ryu” spouting water, under the statue of buddhist monk hermit Shoto, just outside Rinnoji.
All NIkko Pass and admission tickets to Rinnoji, Toshogu and Futarasan Shrine respectively.
School children on an excursion to Rinnoji.
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.
Toshogu Shrine, a mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Steps lined with giantic cypress leading up to a stone torii.
One passes through the largest stone torii in Japan when visiting the Toshogu.
Five-storey pagoda, “Gojunoto”
Tiger statue, which guards the right window of the pagoda, part of the 12 chinese zodiac signs which are carved around the first level
A rabbit, above the main door of the pagoda.
The base of the five-storey pagoda, embellished with intricate details of artwork and craftsmanship
The gate entrance of Toshogu Shrine, guarded by deva kings.
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.
Raising his palm, halting any evil from entering the sacred premises.
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.
Statue of a lion, guarding the inner side of the Omotemon.
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.
bronze lantern amidst stone lanterns
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.
Side flank of the lower warehouse of “Sanjinko”.
The middle warehouse of “Sanjinko”.
A bronze lantern at Toshogu, Nikko
Crowd gathering before the horse stable for pictures of the sanzaru monkeys
Japanese obasans taking photos, many of whom are dolled up for the occasion.
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”.
The crowd is starting to build up, with groups of school kids on excursions…
More elephants… with manes like lions?!
Yōmeimon taken without flash
Yōmeimon taken with flash
3 old men playing chess, as part of the intricate caricature that dorns the roof of Yōmeimon.
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.
The walls of the Yōmeimon are lavishly decorated, including this pair of Chinese lions
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.
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.
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.
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!
Entrance gate made of bronze to the final resting place of the Shogun.
Even the base of the pillars are embellished to the finest detail.
Large bronze door
The final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu. His remains are said to be housed in this bronze urn.
A small building in front of Tokugawa’s grave, housing an altar
Altar within small building in front of Tokugawa’s grave.
A bronze torii that guards Tokugawa’s final stop.
A sedan, presumably used for the spring and autumn processions, likening those seen at theTokyo-Edo museum and Asakusa.
The other side of the Yōmeimon is occupied by a figure representing Yoritomo Minamoto, the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate in 1192.
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?
Bunch of high school boys on excursion as well. As can be seen, its a very cold day
The other statue of the Deva king at the Omotemon, as we adjourned from Toshogu.
Wine Offerings to the Shinto Gods beside the tall Japanese cypress.
The Japanese cypress trees are deemed as sacred and dorn with a straw-weaven rope
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.
Koyo @Futarasan Jinja
I thought this shot particularly caught the ambience at that moment, lamp post et. al.
Koyo near Futarasan Jinja