Summer Journeys – Nikko (日光)

The 3rd of September saw Haruka, Jonas and me driving to the small town of Nikko, which is known for its huge and emblazed temple and shrine area. The shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1868) ordered to be enshrined at this place and to become the protecting god of the shogunate after his death. Therefor Nikko’s influence widened even more and it became one of the most magnificient religious places in Japan. We thought it to be a good place to visit and just hoped for the taifun over our heads to be nice to us… well it wasn’t and we got quite a bit wet – but see for yourself 😉

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The Shinkyo-Bridge, which only the Shogun was allowed to walk on. Today you can walk on it for 500Yen… noooooo way. Please note the river, which is filled with rainwater from the mountains, due to the taifun.

Outer Torii of the Toshogu-Shrine, the shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu. 

The three famous monkeys in the Toshogu-Shrine. I guess everyone knows them or some similar depiction 😉


 The Toshogu-Shrine – and some heavy rain. As I said, the taifun was having its fun with us.


Yomei-mon, or the Gate of the Sunlight, is the entry gate to the inner Toshogu-Shrine. It is said to be one of the prime examples of Japanese artisanship of that time and is a magnificient sight! (even when it’s raining xD)

In between all this splendour there were quite a few monks trying to banish demons or sell us protective charms against any kind of demons. Which isn’t a problem at all – everyone has some problems with demons, be they teachers, 7 evil ex’s or worse – but usually they just stand around and wait for someone to come and buy stuff. But when I’m constantly asked, if I want to buy this or that, it gets a bit annoying… Must have something to do with beeing a world heritage site, I guess. More tourists, more demons, more money … 😮

 The Futarasan-Shrine, also part of the world heritage. 


Inside of one of the Futarasan side buildings. A small shrine, dedicated to some god that I can’t remember. Basically you throw a small coin into te small black box and then pray to the deity of the shrine.


Jonas and Haruka trying to hit one of the poles with three rings – if you hit, you’ll get lucky 😮 

The Niomon-gate to the Taiyuin-Shrine, grave of the third Tokugawa shogun. The style is a lot more plain than the earlier gate, which also marks the changing taste of those times. 

One of the gate’s guardians. 

The inner Tayuin-Shrine, dedicated to Tokugawa Iemitsu. 

While the guarding monk wasn’t watching, I took a picture of the inside of the shrine, which is actually forbidden. Please enjoy especially the most likely sacred fan on the left 😮

That was all for today and I hope you enjoyed this article. There’s already a lot of material for more writings, but time is short these days. But a small teaser: next up will be Tokyo and Yokohama – quite a contrast to what the last articles were about 😉