Nikko Toshogu

Historic Building

What is Nikko Toshogu?

Nestled amidst the picturesque mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, lies the exquisite Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Considered a national treasure, this awe-inspiring complex stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Nikko Toshogu is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan for over 250 years during the Edo period. It was originally built in the early 17th century and has since become one of Japan’s most important historical and architectural landmarks.

As you step foot into the sanctuary, you will be greeted by the unique fusion of Buddhist and Shinto elements meticulously woven into every corner. The intricate craftsmanship, vibrant colors, and meticulous attention to detail will leave you in awe. The vibrant red gates, lavishly decorated buildings, and the famous “Three Wise Monkeys” carving are just a few of the iconic features that await your discovery.

Wandering through the stone pathways, you will encounter various buildings such as the Yomeimon Gate, considered one of Japan’s most ornate structures. Marvel at the intricate sculptures, intricate carvings, and intricate gold leaf decorations adorning its façade. The main shrine, the Taiyuin Mausoleum, and countless other structures within the compound offer a glimpse into the grandeur of bygone eras.

Beyond its architectural magnificence, Nikko Toshogu carries immense cultural significance for the Japanese people. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and continues to serve as a place of worship and pilgrimage for those seeking blessings, peace, and spiritual solace.

Visiting Nikko Toshogu is like stepping back in time, immersing yourself in Japan’s rich history and traditions. The tranquility of the surrounding nature adds to the serene atmosphere, creating an experience that both captivates and enlightens.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply someone seeking beauty and tranquility, a visit to Nikko Toshogu is an absolute must. Its grandeur and historical significance make it an unforgettable destination that truly embodies the essence of Japan’s cultural heritage.

Please note that due to its cultural and historical significance, certain areas of Nikko Toshogu may have restricted access or guidelines for visitors. It is always recommended to check the latest information before planning your visit.

Highlights of Nikko Toshogu


Nikko is a famous spot for viewing autumn leaves and is crowded with tourists in the fall. If you come by car, it may take a long time to park your car in the parking lot.


As you approach the entrance to Toshogu Shrine, you will be greeted by a large stone monument. The stone monument is engraved with “Toshogu Shrine”.


There are many historic buildings remaining within the precincts.This building is worthy of being designated as a World Heritage Site.

As you enter the shrine grounds through the large torii gate at the main gate, you will see a five-storied pagoda on your left.

As you enter the center of the temple grounds, you will see several magnificent buildings with golden decorations.

The famous three monkeys (see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil) can be seen here.

These three monkeys represent the teaching of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” and are a commandment to grow up with an honest heart without seeing, saying, or hearing evil.

If you go further in, you will see the most famous building. Yomeimon is a representative example of Nikko’s mausoleum architecture and has been designated as a national treasure.

It was built in 1636, with a front face of 7m, sides of 4.4m, and a height of 11.1m.It is a masterpiece that incorporates all of the architecture, crafts, sculpture, and paintings of the Edo period. The gate, which is filled with 508 sculptures, is also called the “Higurashi Gate” because you can look at it all day long.

Watch the video to see the atmosphere inside the temple grounds.

This is what it looks like when you look at the precincts from the top of the stairs.


  1. Access by train
    Asakusa – Tobu Nikko (Limited Express Kegon): Required time approximately 1 hour 50 minutes
    Asakusa – Shimoimaichi – Tobu Nikko (Limited Express Kinu + local trains): Required time: approximately 1 hour 50 minutes
    Asakusa – Tobu Nikko (Tobu Railway Rapid): Approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes
    Shinjuku – Tobu Nikko (JR Limited Express Nikko): Required time approximately 2 hours
    Utsunomiya – Nikko (JR Nikko Line): Approximately 45 minutes
  2. Access by car
    From Tohoku Expressway Utsunomiya IC, take Nikko Utsunomiya Road and exit at Nikko IC.
    2km from Nikko IC.