世界遺産 日光おすすめスポット『輪王寺大猷院』World Heritage Nikko “Rinoji Taiyuin”


In addition to the previous post “Nikko Toshogu”, there was a place I was happy to visit, so I would like to introduce it.

仁王門 Nio-mon

東照宮に行く表参道の途中にあるのは『日光山輪王寺』で、同じ輪王寺ですが、こちらは輪王寺大猷院(りんのうじ たいゆういん)と言い、少し歩いた別の場所にあります。

On the way to Toshogu, there is “Nikkozan Rinnoji”, which is the same Rinnoji Temple, but this is called Rinnouji Taiyuin, and it is located in another place that I walked a little.




Of course, the gorgeousness of Toshogu is wonderful, but you can feel the nature of Nikko more here.

The stone steps to the main shrine are long, so it looks like a mountain climb.

It may take about an hour to visit. This is a recommended place for those who have time and spare capacity.

輪王寺大猷院 Rinnnoji Taiyuin

家光公の墓所 Iemitsu’s graveyard




The name of Taiyuin Temple, which is also the name of the temple, is the name (Shigou) of Tokugawa Iemitsu.

The name ”Shigou” is a name given to a nobleman or a monk in praise of his life.

This Taiyuin is the graveyard of Tokugawa Iemitsu. This is also registered as a World Heritage Site.




Iemitsu (1604-1651) is the grandson of Ieyasu Tokugawa and the third shogun. Iemitsu is a person who established the system of the Edo Shogunate, revised the Buke Shohatto, and added a system for changing the attendance of daimyo.

It was built by his son, the 4th Shogun Iemitsu, according to Iemitsu’s will to serve his grandfather, Ieyasu, who he had longed for after his death.

In addition, the will says, “I must not surpass Toshogu, the grandfather of Ieyasu,” and in line with that intention, the scale is smaller and more modest than Toshogu.



It seems that everyone will definitely go to Nikko Toshogu, but as I walked toward this Taiyuin, I got the impression that the number of people gradually decreased.

However, the scenery changed as I went deeper with a very sacred atmosphere, and it was a very quaint place that made me happy to come.

門は全て重要文化財 All gates are important cultural properties


You will pass through four gates before you reach the main shrine of Taiyuin.

  1. 仁王門 Nio-mon
  2. 二天門 Niten-mon
  3. 夜叉門 Yasya-mon
  4. 唐門 Kara-mon

(“mon” in Japanese = “gate” in English)



It seems that it is made by taking advantage of the mountainous terrain, and when I first went there, I felt that the stone steps were long. ..

I was wondering how long the stairs would last, but the natural air was comfortable and I was able to go up relatively comfortably.

1.仁王門 Nio-mon



It is a gate that you can already see from the place where you purchased the admission ticket.

Before entering the gate, the bright red autumn leaves were beautiful.



When approaching the gate, you will be overwhelmed by its size. There are magnificent statues of Nio (3.2m in height) on the left and right.

The shapes of the two mouths are “A” and “Um”.




What is "A" "Um"?
In Japanese, the action of two people breathing together is called "Aum's breathing".

"A" is the sound that comes out when you open your mouth without any hindrance.
"Um" is the sound when the mouth is completely closed.
From the above, it was thought in ancient India as a word that indicates the beginning and end of the universe.
In addition to the universe, it is said to have been likened to truth, wisdom and nirvana.

In Japan, along with the introduction of Buddhism, it has been handed down with various interpretations such as "implicit understanding".
When expressed in Buddhist statues, it is explained that "things have a beginning and an end".
仁王門裏側 Behind the Niomon

2.二天門 Niten-mon



As you proceed, you will be overwhelmed by the size of this Nitenmon Gate.

It is said to be the largest gate in Mt. Nikko.



There are Jikokuten as the guardian deity that protects the east, and Koumokutenten as the guardian deity that protects the west.

Behind the gate is the god of wind and thunder.



The statue of Buddha is overwhelming, but the beauty of the black lacquer is also fascinating.

It’s a gate that’s always outside, but I thought that the reason why lacquer had such a luster was probably related to the humidity of the land of Nikko, which was blessed with water.

3.夜叉門 Yasya-mon



This was also an eye-catching gate with vivid colors.

It is said that Yaksha protects the north, south, east and west to prevent evil spirits from invading.





When the chief priest explained at the main shrine, there was a story about Umarokya, who protects the north of Yon-Yasha.

I was told, “Please take a closer look at your knees,” and when I took a closer look, there was an elephant at the knee pad.

This is the origin of the word “Hiza-kozo” in Japanese.“Zo”=elephant


The sculptures of peony and arabesque are also wonderfully called “peony gate”.

4.唐門 Kara-mon


The Karamon gate, which is the entrance to the hall of worship, feels smaller than the gates that have been used so far, but it takes a long time to see every corner with delicate carvings and coloring.

本殿は国宝 The main shrine is a national treasure



Upon entering the main shrine, the chief priest explained the history and highlights of this Taiyuin Temple.

The main shrine is said to stand toward the summit of Toshogu, where Ieyasu is located.



I couldn’t take a picture, but I put it inside.

The interior is decorated in detail, and you can feel the sacred and different world of gold leaf, even the paradise.




The wall painting Karashishi is said to have been written by Kano Tanyu.

There are 140 dragon paintings on the ceiling written by the Kano school.

The armor worn by Iemitsu was also on display.




I’m sorry I can’t show you the photo, but I personally remember that the dragon and the lion were the best to see.

When you see these historical works of art in a museum, they are always glazed.

The dragon of Tanyu and the dragon of the ceiling painting, which can be seen without passing through the glass, are really moving. I think it’s very grateful that you can see things that ordinary people would never have seen at that time, as long as you pay the admission fee and go to see them.

皇嘉門 Kouka-mon





After entering the main shrine, you can also go to the place called Iemitsu’s graveyard.

However, this place is up to the entrance called Kokamon, and the inside is closed and cannot be visited.

In addition, this Kokamon is said to have adopted the architectural style of the Ming Dynasty in China and is also called the Ryugu Gate.

This gate is also designated as a national important cultural property.

天界と地上界の境目 The boundary between the heavenly world and the earthly world




There is an observatory between Niten-mon and Yasya-mon, and it is said that the upper part is the heavenly world.

At this point, the height was quite high, and I might have entered a mysterious world overlooking the ground.

The moss is also very beautiful, and I think it’s an irresistible place for moss lovers.



When I went to Nikko, I regret that I didn’t do much preliminary research and didn’t know much about the background. Even so, I was glad I went enough, but there were many times when I knew it later. If I went after I knew it, I thought that it would have been a different perspective and deeply emotional, so I wrote this article.

I would definitely like to visit this place as well.



・ココミル 関東④『日光 鬼怒川』. JTBパブリッシング,2018


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