Monday, August 29, 2011

Nikkozan Rinnoji and Taiyuin Reibyo, Nikko, Tochigi

Our last stop for the day was Rinnoji and Taiyuin Reibyo, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Iemitsu. By the end of this Nikko trip, hubby declared his quota for temples and shrines full for the next several months LOL!

This Sanbutsudo, or Three Buddha Hall, the most famous out of the 15 buildings within the Rinnoji complex. It houses three very large gold plated statues of Amitabha (如來佛祖, Amida Nyorai, Phật Tổ Như Lai), the Thousand-Arms Senju Kannon (千手觀音, Thiên Thủ Quan Âm) and the Horse Head Bato Kannon (馬頭觀音, Mã Thủ Quan Âm). You can see more pictures of Rinnoji here, and you can read more about the Horse Head Kannon here.

If you are wondering, yes, this is just a hollow building encaging the actual temple hall. From all the sources I've seen and read, this hall used to be "free range" like all the other halls and only recently was there such an ugly roof covering it. Perhaps they meant to shelter it from the weather? There are gold plated statues inside, after all. Then again, it's been there for centuries, no? Why covering it up now? Also, photography is no longer allowed inside the enclosure, where as it seems like people were able to take pictures before.

View of Shoyoen from the fish-feeding platform. The kois there were huge!! Watch this video I took of hubby feeding the fishies :)

View of the "Treasure House" from Shoyoen. There's really no "treasures" in Treasure House per se, at least not what you think. It houses various items of significant historical and religious values to the place, and hence dubbed treasures.

Spotted a beautiful glossy red dragonfly and snapped a picture of it ^.^

Again it was a sweltering day, and being in a t-shirt didn't prevent me from sweating a bucket.
- Straw hat: Banana Republic
- T-shirt: Aeropostale
- Camisole: Aeropostale
- Belt: JCrew
- Bag: Nine West
- Jeans: home made (by my aunt)
- Shoes: Crocs

View of Shoyoen standing on the side of the Treasure House

Going up further, we actually passed both Toshogu and Futarasan Jinja before reaching more Rinnoji buildings and Taiyuin Reibyo.

This is the Watariro Corridor between Jogyodo, you can see at the left of Futarasan Jinja's larger torii, and Hokkedo.

Close up of the Watariro Corridor. Beyond the corridor, you can see stair steps leading up to somewhere, however the path was railed off and there was a sign that says, "No Trespassing."

Of course being told not to go somewhere made me even more curious as to where those stair steps lead up to. I saw that there were signs along the way up, which I took to mean that people were allowed to go up there at one point. However, looking at the moss covered stone path that leads up to the stairs, it is apparent no one has treaded that path for a long time. Gah I wanted to go up there so badly!!!

Looking up at Taiyuin Reibyo's Niomon gate from Watariro Corridor.

Spotted yet another beautiful black and gold dragonfly on the railing and snapped a picture of it too ^.^

Another feature that really interested me about Taiyuin Reibyo was the numerous stone lanterns beyond the Niomon gate. There were so many of them, standing silently to witness history and change of time, all covered up in moss. They are intriguing and spooky at the same time.

Here tone lanterns with side view of Niomon in the back.

More stone lanterns off the side of Niomon.

Even more stone lanterns leading up to the Mizuya, the water fountain.

Stone lanterns lining the path to Ryukoin, a management building (what does that mean, exactly?) that does not allow visitors. The fact that it's hidden far back behind thick trees and is barely visible from where I stood didn't help my curiosity.

Stairs leading up to Nitenmon.

Close up of Nitenmon.

Beyond Nitenmon is another couple flights of stairs to the inner sanctions of Taiyuin Reibyo.

Looking back at Nitenmon atop one flight of stairs.

There was I thrilled to get another glimpse of the mysterious Ryukoin hiding behind the trees.

The double row of stone lanterns along the path to Ryukoin.

Going up high I was able to snap a shot of the scene beyond Ryukoin's locked front gate, including the silhouette of the main hall in the far back, behind the trees. There were even more stone lanterns back there!!!

Outer view of Yashamon with part of the Sayukairo at far left. Watch a quick 360-degree view I took outside Yashamon, showing the Shoro (Bell House) at right, Koro (Drum House) at left, and Nitenmon at the bottom of the 2 flights of stairs.

Beyond Yashamon is yet another Karamon (how many freakin' gates do you need to a temple?!?). Watch a quick 360-degree view I took between these 2 gates, showing the whole Sayukairo on the left and right.

A view of Yashamon from the back left corner of Karamon.

Looking back at Yashamon from Karamon.

Finally, inside Karamon is Taiyuin Reibyo's Honden with Haiden in far back.

Here's Haiden with a glimpse of Honden at far right. I also took a video here showing both the Haiden, Ainoma (the middle smaller hall), Honden, and Mizugaki, the roofed walls with detailed carvings that encloses these buildings.

Leaving the Mizugaki, one is greeted with the sight of Kokamon, the gate to the Okunoin Inner House where Tokugawa Iemitsu is actually buried. The gate is locked of course and no visitors are allowed.

Here is Rinnoji's Kannondo and Sanjunoto, yes, the same one beyond Betsugu Hongu Jinja Honden where hubby and I got some goosebumps passing by. We did turn around, but later found yet more semi-hidden stair steps and following them, we found a back way to Kannondo and Sanjunoto without passing Betsugu Hongu Jinja Honden again. And this time, we didn't get spooked or felt the least creeped out, even though the path was just as covered in cobweb and whatnot.

Yep, this concludes our Nikko trip! Are you tired of temples and shrines now too? ^.^

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