Toshogu Shrine -Tochigi | Travel Information

Buildings at Toshogu Shrine

Toshogu Shrine, located in Tochigi Prefecture, is a recognised UNESCO World Heritiage site, together with the neighboring Futarasan Shrine , accompanied by the some 40 buildings which make up the shrine grounds. The shrine serves as the final resting place for Tokugawa Ieyasu, whom was the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate who helped to shape Japan into the country it is today. 

The Building in and around the main shrine complex are rather unique, with a design style not seem much outside of this particular region. 

But it is this unique design, which makes this shrine an interesting experience for those visiting. Many buildings are decorated with lavish gold plates which shrine brightly under the sun, making the Toshogu shrine the most luxurious shrine in Japan. It was first opened in 1617, but the buildings were later refurbished and rebuilt about 20 years later, and those buildings have remained intact to this day. 

On many of many features of the shrine, are the fabulous wooden carvings, which can be found on various buildings around the shrine. Some of the more profound carvings are of 3 monkeys, an elephant and a cat. If you do happen to see the elephant carving, you may notice the elephant looks quite strange. This is because the artist had never seen an elephant, and based the carving off descriptions of an elephant by those who had seen one. 

During the Edo Period, a majority of the government functions and processions were conducted out of the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, which is why it was decorated some differently, as it was intended to impress visitors. You too can experience what these processions were like, as the festival hosts annual festivals during the spring and autumn to preserve the history and importance of the shrine.

Nearby, the is a museum which was opened in 2015, and showcases the person cloths, swords, armor and other belongings owned by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is a must visit for those who love Japanese history.

Hours and Admission

  • Hours: 8:00am - 5:00pm (4:00pm November through March)
  • 1300JPY (2100JPY for Shrine and museum ticket)
  • Average Time Spent: 1 hour
  • Official Website

Access

The shrine complex is located about a 30-45 minute walk from Nikko Station, the closest train station to the shrine. A bus service is also available for those travelling to the shrine for 310JPY one way, or a 500JPY for a nikko bus pass. The bus departs from Tobu Station, around the corner from the JR station.

Where To Stay

Booking.com

Nearby Attractions

Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji is a lake located close to Toshogu Shrine, and is quite a popular lake among the locals, with beautiful hot spring hotels which line the main town area, Lake Chuzenji is a favourite place to relax for a while.