Check out some of the oddities in the temple
While wandering the grounds inside the Toshogu you may come across the Sacred Stable. To my surprise the stable has a sacred horse from my home (New Zealand). I wasn't aware we had any, but as it has replaced a carved white horse, I guess he has found the right home. What would a sacred horse be doing in NZ anyway??
Nikko - A World Heritage Site
The Shrines and Temples of Nikko
Nikko was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1999, becoming the tenth in Japan to achieve this status and recognition. Nikko is where nature's special beauty of centuries old cedar trees merge with the shrines and temples built in the honour of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Ieyasu was a military strongman who unified Japan and was so powerful that he started the rule of the Shoguns, a political legacy that would last for 250 years.
The cover picture shows the lavish Yomeimon Gate which is decorated with beautiful and unusual scupltures and carvings, some covered in gilt and gold leaf that shone in the sunlight.
The Tosho-gu Shrine & Mausoleum
The Tosho-gu shrine and mausoleum is said to be Japan's largest and finest shrine and funerary complex. Tokugawa Ieyasu, was enshrined in the Toshugu Shrine in 1616. More than 1,500 craftsmen and artists were brought to Nikko to complete the shrine which was completed by Ieyasu's grandson & heir, Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1636 at a cost of more than $250 million. 8 of the 55 facilities here have been designated as "National Treasures" and all the rest of them as "Important Cultural Properties".
Lake Chuzen, Nikko
No visit to Nikko would be complete without a visit to the nearby Lake Chuzen area. Our coach tour took us up the famous Iroha zig-zag slope to the Lake Chuzen area for lunch and to view the Kegon Waterfall. Much to our delight, due to the cold weather, late blooming cherry blossoms could still be found on the trees around Lake Chuzen. It was a photographer's delight!