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Friday, 13 March 2009

Nikko: Taiyuin-byo

Taiyuin-byo is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate who is also the grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu. At a glance, it looks a miniaturised Toshogu.


The Nitenmon (Niten Gate) is the main gate to the compound of the Honden (Main Hall). It is also lavishly decorated but was kept more modest than the look of Yomei-mon (Sunset Gate) at Toshogu.


Both guardian deities flanking the main door of Nitenmon have one hand up and another one down. The hand held up is to welcome visitor with pure hearts, whereas the hand down is to suppress those with impure hearts. So, which group do you belong to? I have no answer myself.



Flanking the inner side of Nitenmon are two other fierce-looking deities, probably for scaring off any wandering spirit. Are you scared?



In front of the Honden, there is a granite font at which the worshipers cleanse themselves by washing their hands and rinsing their mouths, as according to the Shinto practice.


Flanking the gate to the Honden are two drum towers which are also miniaturised version of the ones at Toshogu.


The main gate of the Honden is also elaborately decorated with gold leaves.


The Honden itself is another marvel of Shinto shrine architecture. You can imagine the amount of gold leaves used to decorate the roof structure.





This is where the spirit of Tokugawa Iemitsu is kept alive forever.



Mojo said...

Amazing how detailed and ornate these places are. You could spend an entire week or more here and still miss a lot.

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