|Dedicated to||Tokugawa Ieyasu|
Tōshō-gū is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Initially built in 1617, during the Edo period, while Ieyasu's son Hidetada was shogun, it was enlarged during the time of the third shogun, Iemitsu. Ieyasu is enshrined there, where his remains are also entombed.
During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate carried out stately processions from Edo to the Nikkō Tōshō-gū along the Nikkō Kaidō. The shrine's annual spring and autumn festivals reenact these occasions, and are known as "processions of a thousand warriors."
Five structures at Nikkō Tōshō-gū are categorized as National Treasures of Japan, and three more as Important Cultural Properties. Additionally, two swords in the possession of the shrine are National Treasures, and numerous other objects are Important Cultural Properties. Famous buildings at the Tōshō-gū include the richly decorated Yōmeimon, a gate that is also known as "higurashi-no-mon." The latter name means that one could look at it until sundown, and not tire of seeing it. Carvings in deep relief, painted in rich colors, decorate the surface of the structure. The next gate is the karamon decorated with white ornaments. Nearby, a carving of the sleepy cat, "Nemuri-neko", is attributed to Hidari Jingorō.
The stable of the shrine's sacred horses bears a carving of the three wise monkeys, who hear, speak and see no evil, a traditional symbol in Chinese and Japanese culture.
The original five-story pagoda was donated by a daimyo in 1650, but it was burned down during a fire, and was rebuilt in 1818. Each story represents an element - earth, water, fire, wind and aether or void - in ascending order. Inside the pagoda, a central shinbashira pillar hangs from chains to minimize damage from earthquakes.
Hundreds of stone steps lead through the cryptomeria forest up to the grave of Ieyasu. A torii at the top bears calligraphy attributed to Emperor Go-Mizunoo. A bronze urn contains the remains of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
In 2008 Yuri Kawasaki became the first female Shinto priest ever to serve at Nikkō Tōshō-gū.
Torii and pagoda at entrance to Tōshō-gū.
Tablet: Tōshō Dai-Gongen (東照大権現) on torii. Attributed to Emperor Go-Mizunoo.
This bell is gift from the Joseon Dynasty.
Carvings above the Karamon.
Kagura-den, a hall for dances dedicated to gods in the divine work for Shintoism.
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References and notes
- Parent, Mary Neighbour (2003), "shinbashira", Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System, retrieved 2009-03-28
- Tanimura, Akihiko; Ishida, Shuzo (1997), "Energy dispersion and dissipation mechanism of a Shinbashira-Frame system", Journal of Structural Engineering B 43B: 143–150, ISSN 0910-8033
- 1st female Shinto priest named at Nikko Toshogu at Discover Seattle.net