Tokugawa Hidetada built Nikko Tosho-gu in 1617 to enshrine his father Tokugawa Ieyasu, in accordance with instructions in his will. Ieyasu had been the first shogun of the Tokugawa family, which governed Japan over some 250 years from 1603. Later, Iemitsu, the grandson of Ieyasu, carried out extensive renovation work on the shrine to give it its present form. The most advanced architectural technologies of the time were fully utilized in the construction of the buildings within the Tosho-gu, which features brightly-colored elaborate carvings. In a reflection of the integrating concept of Shin-Butsu Shugo (combining the learning of Shinto and Buddhism), the architectural styles of shrines and of Buddhist temples are mingled in these buildings, giving them a uniquely original style. The imposing gate, the Yomei-mon, is the best-known symbol of the shrine. As many as 500 brightly-colored carvings fill the front of the gate in colors such as white, black, gold, navy, green, blue, and vermilion. The finest decorative skills available in Japan at the time were used on the gate. It is said, however, that members of the general public were not allowed to go through it. Yomei-mon is designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government and a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site by UNESCO.
Address: 2301 Sannai, Nikko-shi, Tochigi
Admission Fee: 1,300 yen (regular fee)
Closed: Open throughout the year
[Bus]JR Nikko or Tobu Nikko Station/Bus/7 min./Shinkyo Bus Stop/10 min.