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Why Rinnoji Temple is special ?
Rinnoji is a Buddhist temple complex of Tendai sect. The wide precincts are located just south of Nikko Toshogu and Futarasan shrines, and there are more than a dozen buildings in the precincts. It is said that the temple was founded by a high priest Shodo in 766. He built a former Rinnoji, and built a shrine next to the temple next year. It was the former Futarasan shrine. Also he built a temple at the lakeside of Lake Chuzenji in 784.
In the 9th century, famous high priests such as kuukai and En'nin had sometimes visited here. And En'nin built Sanbutsudo temple and a few buildings in this precincts in 848. After the foundation of Edo government by Ieyasu Tokugawa, this had become an important temple with Nikko Toshogu shrine. In 1653, Taiyuuin Mausoleum of Iemitsu Tokugawa, the 3rd Shogun, was built.
What to explore at Rinnoji Temple?
The temple's main building, the Sanbutsudo, houses large, gold lacquered, wooden statues of Amida, Senju-Kannon ("Kannon with a thousand arms") and Bato-Kannon ("Kannon with a horse head"). The three deities are regarded as Buddhist manifestations of Nikko's three mountain deities which are enshrined at Futarasan Shrine.
Opposite Sanbutsudo stands the temple's treasure house with Buddhist and Tokugawa related exhibits. Shoyoen, a small Japanese style garden, is located next behind the treasure house. The garden is a popular autumn leaf spot with its many maple trees standing photogenically around its central pond. Autumn colors peak here typically around the first half of November.
How to get to Rinnoji Temple?
About 1.8 km from Nikko station. It takes about 35 minutes.
To taiyuuin, about 0.5 km from the main precincts of Rinnoji. About 10 minutes.
By route bus
By route bus to Chuzenji or Yumoto-onsen, get off at Nishi-sando stop. About 6 minutes from Nikko station.
From Nishi-sando stop, about 3 minutes on foot.
- Shoyoen Gardens across from temple are beautiful
- Interesting interior hidden behind renovations
- Come here at the end of the day
- Autumn foliage at Rinnoji temple
- Undergoing major renovation but still fascinating
Japan 〒321-1431 栃木県日光市山内２３００
Tips for you
This is more than likely the first temple you will get to if you have bought the combination ticket. There is no denying that there isn't much to see from the outside as it is completely covered due to an ongoing renovation, which still has many many years left to go! However you can still go inside and take a look around the temple. We actually paid 400 yen extra (each) and went up to the top of the renovation platform. This is probably only advised for those people who have a love of old buildings or renovation projects. For us it was fascinating. The roof of the temple was completely taken off, each piece numbered and set aside or it hasdbeen taken away for additional work. Some of these pieces were massive pieces of wood and some were tiny wooden pins. It was just amazing to see how the temples were constructed. We really enjoyed our visit but I can see how some people might be disappointed with the amount of exterior beauty which is on display. http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowUserReviews-g298182-d319959-r140896593-Rinnoji_Temple-Nikko_Tochigi_Prefecture_Kanto.html#