Early Spring Tours in Nikko

Nikko Toshogu Shrine, The World Heritage Site

Almost all the shrine complexes we see were rebuilt in 1636, twenty years after Tokugawa Ieyasu’s enshrine
-ment. Fifty-five buildings, including Yomeimon Gate (designated a National Treasure), were completed in
just one year and five months. According to the financial records which are stored in the shrine, the cost was
equivalent to of 40 billion yen with current monetary value. The renovation project was administered by
Akimoto Yasutomo, the governor of Tajima Province, and the actual construction and carpentry work was
the responsibility of master carpenter Kora-Bungo Munehiro. One of the special features of the shrine complex
is the use of paths and stairways that follow the natural topography of the site, allowing the arrangement of
the shrine buildings in a pleasing balance to create a solemn, religious atmosphere. The buildings are
lacquered and decorated with vibrant colors, and the pillars and other structures are covered in a multitude
of carvings. The carvings not simply design elements; they convey expressions of religious belief as well as
scholarship and philosophy.

(L) Sacred Bridge, part of the Futarasan Shrine 
(R) The entrance to Toshougu Shrine and Stone Torii Gate 日光東照宮表参道

The Sacred Bridge crossing the Daiya River belongs to the Futarasan Shrine. This vermilion lacquered
structure is known as one of the three most beautiful bridges in Japan and is a perfect gateway for Nikko.
The bridge was registered as a World Heritage in December 1999. It measures 28 meters long, 7.4 meters
wide, and stands 10.6 meters above the Daiya River.

The important cultural property Ishidorii Gate was dedicated in 1618 by Kuroda Nagamasa, the feudal
lord of Kyushu Chikuzen (present day Fukuoka Prefecture). The stone for the use of the gate was
transported by ship from Kyushu to Koyama and then manually hauled over land to Nikko.

Five-story Pagoda 五重塔

As designated an Important Cultural Property, the Gojunoto Pagoda was dedicated in 1648 by Sakai Tadakatsu,
the feudal lord of Obama in Wakasa Province (present day Fukui Prefecture). It was destroyed by fire in
1815 and rebuilt in 1818 by Sakai Tadayuki, a lord of the same lineage.

Front Gate

Omotemon (Front Gate ) : Omotemon Gate is the first gate at Toshogu Shrine, as designated an Important Cultural
Property. It is also called Nio Gate because of the two guardian deity statues positioned in the left and right.

Sacred Stable and Three Wise Monkeys

There is a frieze of eight panels of carvings of monkeys running through the building, depicting the lives of
ordinary people. Monkeys have been regarded as guardians of horses since ancient times.
Carving of three monkeys, 'See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil', is particularly famous.

This is the very famous sculpture of 'The wise three monkeys, 'sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil'

Yomeimon Gate 陽明門

One of the most beautiful gates in Japan, Yomeimon Gate is said to have been given the name of 'Main Gate of
the Imperial Court'. It is also called 'Gate of the Setting Sun', because one could gaze upon it all day and never
tire. It is covered with over 500 carvings depicting traditional anecdotes, children playing, sages and wise men.

(L) Sacred warehouse
経蔵 (R) Bell Tower 鐘楼

Bell Tower 鐘楼

(L) Omizuya (Water Purification Building) 
御水舎 (R) A sourvenir photography of a group abroad

As an important cultural property, this facility is used to purify body and mind by washing hands of warshipers
and rinsing out mouth before worshiping the enshrined deity. The basin was dedicated in 1618 by Nabeshima
Katsushige, feudal lord Saga, Kyushu.

(L) A decoration of Youmeimon (R) sleeping cat 

A dozing while surrounded by peonies and bathed in sunlight by the master caver, Hidari Jungoro.
As designated a National Treasure, this carving of is also said to be a depiction of Nikko (Nikko means the sunlight).

Karamon Gate, under repair construction

The entire Karamon Gate is painted with a white powder chalk. It features intricate carvings of Kyoyu and
Soho (legendary Chinese sages), an audience with the emperor, and other scenes.
The Main Shrine consists of the Honden (Main Hall), Ishinoma (Stone Chamber), and Haiden (Worship Hall).
It is the most important area at Toshogu Shrine. Annual festivals and events are conducted here.

(L) Two sparrows are caved on the opposite side of the sleeping cat. (R) A stairway to Okugu

(L) A stairway to Okugu (R) The gate of Okugu

Okugu (Okusha)

The copper treasure tower of Okusha is the tomb of Ieyasu Tokugawa, and it seems that the remains are buried

(L)Cedars to hear your wishes 叶杉 (R) Cidar giant tree in Toshogu Shrine

(L) A guardian samurai
陽明門の随身(随神) (R) Rotary lantern 回転燈篭

A guardian dog 

Nagasaka Fall along the side slope to Toshou-gu Shrine
In spring time, the amount of water increased because of snow-melting water.

 Nikko Toshougu Shrine, Lake Chuzenjiko and Mt. Hangetsu (decorated in autumn color):
           Picture was taken in 2017.

 Ueno Toshougu Shrine (Tokyo) 2019

To and from Nikko: A railway trip
The historic sites of Nikko are about 120 km north of central Tokyo, and getting there by train is easiest.
There are two train stations at Nikko: Tobu Nikko and JR Nikko.
The stations are only about 100 meters apart. However, the Tobu Railway route departing from Asakusa Station
is the quickest and the most popular.

JR East and Tobu Railway from Shinjuku:
JR East and Tobu Railway Specia train usually departs from the platform 6 of JR Shinjuku station, and
use JR tracks on part of their journey to Tobu Nikko Station. These services are called Specia-Nikko or
Specia-Kinugawa. They take about two hours to reach Tobu Nikko. The express train track enters to
Tobu railway line at Kurihashi station, and the railroad track branches off to the kinugawa line at Shimoimaichi station.

From JR Shinjuku Station:
Shonan-Shinjuku Line trains run to Utsunomiya Station, where a transfer is required to the JR Nikko Line
running to Nikko. The journey takes around 2 hours and 40 minutes.
There is another route to and from Ueno or Tokyo station to Utsunomiya, using Ueno-Tokyo line.

(L) An express train Nikko #1 is to leave Shinjuku station. (R) Intrior of the Nikko #1 train. All seats are reserved.

(L) A train is passing the bridge over Tone River.

(L) As the train is approaching, we can see Nantaisan Mountain ( Alt, 2,486M ) through the train window.

(L) A train is just arrived at Tobu-Nikko station.
(R) The exterior of Mikko Tobu Specia express train ready to start from Tobu-Nikko station.

(L) A Specia-express train at Tobu-Nikko station (R) Guidance plate at Tobu-Nikko station

(L) Many rail-fan are watching the steam locomotive turning at the turn-table. (R) Shimoimaich locomotive depot

(L) A Specia-express train is arriving at Shimoimaich station. (M) A corridor of the deluxe compartment train
(R) Interior of a private room of the compartment

(L) Air-conditioning-system panel is provided at the private room. (M) Specia-express train arrived at JR Shinjuku station.
(R) The exterior of a compartment vehicle of Tobu-Specia train

Nikko Lake-Chuzenji Autumn Tours
Hotel Shikisai, Nikko
Smoke-free Hotels in Japan

A summary of smoking-room rate studied in local hotels of Japan

Smoking Restriction at Hotels in the World: Actual Survey
The ratio of a smoking guest room to the total hotel rooms was calculated,
based on-the-spot investigation.

Nikko, Lake Cuzenji and Mt. Hangetsu (2017)

  執筆 医学博士 宮本順伯
This Web site is link-free.
This information was provided by the Smokefree Hotel and Travel.
The article was written in March 2018.
All photography was taken by Dr. Junhaku Miyamoto in March 2018.

Domestic Travel in Japan

Symposium for smoke-free society Tokyo Metropolis mini-tour
Symposium for smoke-free society Japanese inn, 'ryokan' at Kaminoyama Hot spring, Yamagata
Symposium for smoke-free society Japanese inn, 'ryokan' at Dogo Hotspring, Matsuyama
Symposium for smoke-free society Miyajima ( Itsukushima shrine ) and Hiroshima
Symposium for smoke-free society Kagoshima, southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu

Symposium for smoke-free society Mt.Komagatake and Lake Onuma in the southern Hokkaido
Symposium for smoke-free society Suginoi Hotel, Hells of Beppu and Yufuin of Kyushu
Symposium for smoke-free society Yuze-Onsen, Hot Spring in Northern Honshu

Symposium for smoke-free society Kagaya Rykan, Hot Spring in Noto Peninsula, central Honshu
Symposium for smoke-free society Hotel Associa Takayama Resort, Hida-Takayama, central Honshu

Symposium for smoke-free society Minakami highland ski and hot-spring Resort, Gunma
Symposium for smoke-free society Yoshiike, Hot-spring Resort, Hakone, Kanagawa
Symposium for smoke-free society Fujiya Hotel, Miyanoshita, Hakone, Kanagawa
Symposium for smoke-free society Mampei Hotel, Karuizawa, Nagano
Symposium for smoke-free society Akakura-Kanko Hotel, Myoukou Highland, Niigata
Symposium for smoke-free society Shiojitei, Toba, Mie

Special Note: 日本語表示

 Russia unduly occupies our Northern Territories of Japan.
 Smoke-free hotels in Japan
  Domestic travel in Japan
 WHO: Smoking should be banned in all public spaces.
 World population: seven billion v.s. Declining birth rate in Japan
 Nobody in the earth can destroy the natural beauty of the land.
 Stop merging war criminals and war victims at Yasukuni Shrine.
 Tax saving's rental housing is mushrooming.

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