This map here shows the network of the temples and shrines system in Nikko, all of which are World Heritage Sites. It seems pretty clear from the map that each of the temple or shrine has its own area, right? Wrong. The map should have been color-coded to show which building belongs to which complex, because they're really kind of...all over the place. For example, the small cluster of buildings at the bottom right of the map actually separately belonging to Futarasan Jinja (Shinkyo, Hongu Jinja), Nikko Toshogu (Otabisho), and Nikkozan Rinnoji (Sanjunoto).
***Map from Nikko's Official Website, where you can also see a list of all the Nikko World Heritage temples and shrines along with their pictures.
Anyways, I will post pictures of each of the 3 complexes in 3 separate posts. Just researching the buildings in my pictures of took me a few frustrating and confusing days! But I finally got them all sorted out, I think...This is the first of the 3 complexes hubby and I visited - Nikko Toshogu, and Shinto shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Nikko Toshogu Gojunoto, the five-story pagoda.
Omotemon, the entrance gate to Toshogu.
Mizuya, the spring water fountain where you rinse off your hands and mouths before praying. Almost every temple and shrine has one of these and it's pretty nice on hot days because you can rinse your hands/arms and face and drink the water without people looking at you funny.
To the right of the above photo is the Shinkyu, a sacred stable with the famous carving of The Three Wise Monkeys. I didn't take a picture of this building or of the carving. Instead I took a 360 degrees view of the outer Toshogu complex with glimpses of the place, though I didn't zoom in on the monkey carvings either :P
Standing in front of the Mizuya and looking up at Yomeimon through the torii. I also took a video underneath this torii.
Kyozo, storehouse for sutras, right behind the torii at left. The building behind there (up the steps) is the Koro Drum House.
Beyond the Koro Drum House is the Tozai Kairo Corridor with the famous sleeping cat carving (Nemuri Neko) and Yakushido in the back at left. Walking up the steps again would put you right in front of the famous Yomeimon.
Instead of taking a picture of Yomeimon as a whole, I took a video of the outer side of the gate (where some girlie promptly walked right in front of my camera...grr...) and a close up picture of it.
Facing away from Yomeimon and looking back at the torii.
Inside Yomeimon, to the right is Kaguraden, a stage where the shrine maidens would perform sacred dances.
Not sure why, but there were sake barrels along this corridor to the right of Yomeimon. There was a sign there but of course we didn't read it...
Kamishamusho, a praying-turned-wedding hall. How the times have changed.
The inner view of the famous Yomeimon. I took a video here too to zoom in on the elaborate details of the gate.
Close up of the inner view.
Inside Yomeimon, to the left is Shinyosha, a storehouse for the portable shrines, though I do wonder if they are ever taken out and, well, parade around. Hey, they are portable, no?