Sunday, April 01, 2012

Nikko: Rinno-ji Temple

Rinno-ji is the first temple that one reaches on the shrines and temples walking trail in Nikko.
The Buddhist priest Shodo Shonin built the first temple in Nikko in 766 and it was named Shihonryu-ji. In the 17th century the temple was renamed Rinno-ji subsequent to its association with the Tendai sect of Buddhism.

The temple’s main hall “Sanbutso-do” means “ Three Buddha Hall” . As the name suggests,  hall houses three gilted wooden statues of Amida Buddha, Senju-Kannon (the thousand armed Buddha) and Bato-Kannon (horse headed Buddha). These deities are also enshrined in the nearby Futarasan shrine and are regarded as the Buddhist manifestation of Nikko’s three mountain gods (kami). Another example of the coexistent Shinto-Buddhism practices in Japan.

The Sanbutsu-do is currently undergoing extensive restoration and renovation work which are expected to last for almost another decade. The temple is open to public but the exterior is covered by a scaffolding structure which carries a picture of the Sanbutsudo hall. 

A prayer hall behind Rinnoji temple   

Sorinto Tower is a 13.2 meter high Bronze pillar which is a symbol of world peace. It conains 1000 volumes of Buddhist scriptures (sutras). 

Opposite Sanbutso-do is the temple’s treasure house,Homotsuden, a museum actually where important exhibits pertaining to Buddhism and Tokugawa Shogunate are on display. A small Japanese style garden, Shoyoen, is located next to the treasure house.

 A statue of the priest Shodo stands on the grounds of Rinno-ji
Photography is prohibited inside the Sanbutsudo Hall and the treasure house. Photos of the exteriors and the Japanese garden are permitted.

Taiyuin-byo,the lavishly decorated mausoleum of Tokugawa shogun Iemitsu, is a part of Rinno-ji but is located further away on the shrine and temple trail. I will write more about it in a later post.

Opening Hours: 8:00-17:00 hrs ( Last admission 30 mins before closing time)
                        Closes at 16:00 hrs between November-March

Closing Days: Open 365 days

Admission  fees : 400 yen  for Sanbutso-do only.
                          300 yen for Treasure house and Shoyoen garden
                          1300 yen Combination ticket which includes entrance to Sanbutsu-do,
                          Treasure House, Shoyoen garden, Toshogu Shrine, Taiyuin Byo and 
                          Futarasan Shrine.  

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