Nikkō Tōshō-gū is a Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine located in Nikkō, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Together with Futarasan Shrine and Rinnō-ji, it forms the Shrines and Temples of Nikkō UNESCO World Heritage Site, with 42 structures of the shrine included in the nomination. Five of them are designated as National Treasures of Japan, three more as Important Cultural Properties. Tōshō-gū is dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, it was built in 1617, during the Edo period, while Ieyasu's son Hidetada was shōgun. It was enlarged during the time of Iemitsu. Ieyasu is enshrined there, where his remains are entombed; this shrine was built by Tokugawa retainer Tōdō Takatora. During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate carried out stately processions from Edo to the Nikkō Tōshō-gū along the Nikkō Kaidō; the shrine's annual spring and autumn festivals reenact these occasions, are known as "processions of a thousand warriors". Part of the beauty is the row of majestic trees lining the roadway, termed the Cedar Avenue of Nikkō.
Five structures at Nikkō Tōshō-gū are categorized as National Treasures of Japan, three more as Important Cultural Properties. Additionally, two swords in the possession of the shrine are National Treasures, numerous other objects are Important Cultural Properties. Famous buildings at the Tōshō-gū include the richly decorated Yōmeimon, a gate, known as "higurashi-no-mon"; the latter name means that one could look at it until sundown, not tire of seeing it. Carvings in deep relief, painted in rich colors, decorate the surface of the structure; the next gate is the karamon decorated with white ornaments. Located nearby is a woodcarving of a sleepy cat, "Nemuri-neko", attributed to Hidari Jingorō; the stable of the shrine's sacred horses bears a carving of the three wise monkeys, who hear and see no evil, a traditional symbol in Chinese and Japanese culture. The original five-storey pagoda was donated by a daimyō in 1650, but it was burned down during a fire, was rebuilt in 1818; each storey represents an element–earth, fire and aether –in ascending order.
Inside the pagoda, a central shinbashira pillar hangs from chains to minimize damage from earthquakes. Hundreds of stone steps lead through the cryptomeria forest up to the grave of Ieyasu. A torii at the top bears calligraphy attributed to Emperor Go-Mizunoo. A bronze urn contains the remains of Tokugawa Ieyasu. In 2008 Yuri Kawasaki became the first female Shinto priest to serve at Nikkō Tōshō-gū. List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan Shinbashira, the central wooden column freely suspended Official website Official website UNESCO website - Shrines and Temples of Nikko Accessibility of Nikkō Tōshō-gū
Taisha-zukuri or Ōyashiro-zukuri is the oldest Shinto shrine architectural style. Named after Izumo Taisha's honden, like Ise Grand Shrine's shinmei-zukuri style it features a bark roof decorated with poles called chigi and katsuogi, plus archaic features like gable-end pillars and a single central pillar; the honden's floor is raised above the ground through the use of stilts. Like the shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri styles, it predates the arrival in Japan of Buddhism. Ancient shrines were constructed according to the style of storehouses; the buildings had gabled roofs, raised floors, plank walls, were thatched with reed or covered with hinoki cypress bark. Such early shrines did not include a space for worship. Three important forms of ancient shrine architectural styles exist: taisha-zukuri, shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri, they are exemplified by Izumo Taisha, Nishina Shinmei Shrine and Sumiyoshi Taisha and date to before 552. According to the tradition of Shikinen sengū-sai, the buildings or shrines were faithfully rebuilt at regular intervals adhering to the original design.
In this manner, ancient styles have been replicated through the centuries to the present day. Izumo Taisha's honden over time has gone through profound changes that have decreased its size and changed its structure. In its present form, it is a gabled building 2x2 ken in size, with an entrance on the gabled end (a characteristic called tsumairi-zukuri. Like Ise Grand Shrine's, it has purely ornamental poles called chigi and katsuogi on a cypress bark-covered roof, plus archaic features like gable-end pillars and a single central pillar; this pillar has a diameter of 10.9 cm, has no obvious structural role and is believed to have had a purely religious significance. The external stairway is covered by an independent bark-covered roof; the honden's interior is a square divided into four identical sections, each covered by 15 tatami. The floor plan has therefore the shape of the Chinese character for rice field, an element which suggests a possible connection with harvest propitiation rites; because its floor is raised above the ground, the honden is believed to have its origin in raised-floor granaries like those found in Toro, Shizuoka prefecture.
The oldest extant example of taisha-zukuri is the honden at Kamosu Shrine in Matsue, Shimane prefecture, built in 1582 and now declared a National Treasure. Smaller than Izumo Taisha's, it nonetheless has thick supporting pillars, it is deeper, has a higher floor, differs from Izumo Taisha's. It represents an older style of construction. History and Typology of Shrine Architecture, Encyclopedia of Shinto accessed on November 29, 2009 Fujita Masaya, Koga Shūsaku, ed.. Nihon Kenchiku-shi. Shōwa-dō. ISBN 4-8122-9805-9. Kishida, Hideto. Japanese Architecture. READ BOOKS. ISBN 1-4437-7281-X. Retrieved 2009-11-11. Young, David; the art of Japanese architecture. Architecture and Interior Design. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3838-0. Retrieved 2009-11-11
Chigi, Okichigi or Higi are forked roof finials found in Japanese and Shinto Architecture. Chigi predate Buddhist are an architectural element endemic to Japan, they are an important aesthetic aspect of Shinto shrines, where they are paired with katsuogi, another type of roof ornamentation. Today and katsuogi are used on Shinto buildings and distinguish them from other religious structures, such as Buddhist temples in Japan. Chigi are thought to have been employed on Japanese buildings starting from the 1st century AD, their existence during the Jōmon period is well documented by numerous artifacts. Measurements for chigi were mentioned in an early document, the Taishinpō Enryaku Gishikichō, written in 804 AD; the evolutionary origins of the chigi are not known. One theory is that they were interlocking bargeboard planks that were left uncut. Another is, yet another theory proposes that they were used to hold thatch roofing together. Evidence of this can be seen in minka, or common traditional homes, where two interlocking timbers are found at the roof gables.
However, the only certain fact is that chigi were a working part of the structure, but as building techniques improved, their function was lost and they were left as decorations. Chigi were only to have decorated the homes and warehouses of powerful families, more decorations signified higher rank; this traditional continued until recent times. In the 17th to 19th centuries, the legal code dictated how many chigi were allowed on a building roofs in accordance with the owner's social rank. Today, chigi are found only on Shinto shrines. Chigi may be built directly into the roof as part of the structure, or attached and crossed over the gable as an ornament; the former method is believed to closer resemble its original design, is still utilized in older building methods such as shinmei-zukuri, kasuga-zukuri, taisha-zukuri. Chigi that aren't built into the building are crossed, sometimes cut with a slight curve. While chigi are predominantly placed only at the ends of the roof, this method allows them to sometimes be placed in the middle as well.
More ornate chigi, such as at Ise Shrine, are cut with one or two kaza-ana, or "wind-slots", a third open cut at the tip, giving it a forked appearance. Gold metal coverings serve both ornamental purposes. If the tops are cut vertically, the enshrined kami is a male, otherwise a female; the katsuogi, a short decorative log, is found behind the chigi. Depending on the building, there may be only one katsuogi accompanying the chigi, or an entire row along the ridge of the roof. Names for chigi can vary from region. In Kyoto, Nara Prefecture, Hiroshima, they are called uma. In parts of Toyama, Osaka, Kōchi and Miyazaki prefectures, they are called umanori. Katsuogi Shinto architecture Shinto shrine The Glossary of Shinto for terms concerning Shinto and Shinto architecture
Japanese castles were fortresses constructed of wood and stone. They evolved from the wooden stockades of earlier centuries, came into their best-known form in the 16th century. Castles in Japan were built to guard important or strategic sites, such as ports, river crossings, or crossroads, always incorporated the landscape into their defenses. Though they were built to last and used more stone in their construction than most Japanese buildings, castles were still constructed of wood, many were destroyed over the years; this was true during the Sengoku period, when many of these castles were first built. However, many were rebuilt, either in the Sengoku period, in the Edo period that followed, or more as national heritage sites or museums. Today there are more than one hundred castles extant, or extant, in Japan; some castles, such as the ones at Matsue and Kōchi, both built in 1611, remain extant in their original forms, not having suffered any damage from sieges or other threats. Hiroshima Castle, on the opposite end of the spectrum, was destroyed in the atomic bombing, was rebuilt in 1958 as a museum.
The character for castle,'城', by itself read as shiro, is read as jō when attached to a word, such as in the name of a particular castle. Thus, for example, Osaka Castle is called Ōsaka-jō in Japanese. Conceived as fortresses for military defense, Japanese castles were placed in strategic locations, along trade routes and rivers. Though castles continued to be built with these considerations, for centuries, fortresses were built as centres of governance. By the Sengoku period, they had come to serve as the homes of daimyōs, to impress and to intimidate rivals not only with their defences but with their sizes and elegant interiors. In 1576, Oda Nobunaga was among the first to build one of these palace-like castles: Azuchi Castle was Japan's first castle to have a tower keep, it inspired both Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Osaka Castle and Tokugawa Ieyasu's Edo Castle. Azuchi served as the governing center of Oda's territories, as his lavish home, but it was very keenly and strategically placed. A short distance away from the capital of Kyoto, which had long been a target of violence, Azuchi's chosen location allowed it a great degree of control over the transportation and communication routes of Oda's enemies.
Before the Sengoku period, most castles were called yamajirō. Though most castles were built atop mountains or hills, these were built from the mountains. Trees and other foliage were cleared, the stone and dirt of the mountain itself was carved into rough fortifications. Ditches were dug, to present obstacles to attackers, as well as to allow boulders to be rolled down at attackers. Moats were created by diverting mountain streams. Buildings were made of wattle and daub, using thatched roofs, or wooden shingles. Small ports in the walls or planks could be used to deploy bows or fire guns from; the main weakness of this style was its general instability. Thatch caught fire more than wood, weather and soil erosion prevented structures from being large or heavy. Stone bases began to be used, encasing the hilltop in a layer of fine pebbles, a layer of larger rocks over that, with no mortar; this support allowed larger and more permanent buildings. The first fortifications in Japan were hardly what one associates with the term "castles".
Made of earthworks, or rammed earth, wood, the earliest fortifications made far greater use of natural defences and topography than anything man-made. These kōgoishi and chashi were never intended to be long-term defensive positions, let alone residences; the Yamato people began to build cities in earnest in the 7th century, complete with expansive palace complexes, surrounded on four sides with walls and impressive gates. Earthworks and wooden fortresses were built throughout the countryside to defend the territory from the native Emishi and other groups; these were built as extensions of natural features, consisted of little more than earthworks and wooden barricades. The Nara period fortress at Dazaifu, from which all of Kyūshū would be governed and defended for centuries afterwards, was constructed in this manner, remnants can still be seen today. A bulwark was constructed around the fortress to serve as a moat to aid in the defense of the structure; this was called a mizuki, or "water fort".
The character for castle or fortress, up until sometime in the 9th century or was read ki, as in this example, mizuki. Though basic in construction and appearance, these wooden and earthwork structures were designed to impress just as much as to function against attack. Chinese and Korean architecture influenced the design of Japanese buildings, including fortifications, in this period; the remains or ruins of some of these fortresses, decidedly different from what would come can still be seen in certain parts of Kyūshū and Tōhoku today. The Heian period saw a shift from the need to defend the entire state from
A Shinto shrine is a structure whose main purpose is to house one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, not for worship. Although only one word is used in English, in Japanese Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen, -gū, jingū, mori, myōjin, -sha, ubusuna or yashiro. Structurally, a Shinto shrine is characterized by the presence of a honden or sanctuary, where the kami is enshrined; the honden may however be absent, as for example when the shrine stands on a sacred mountain to which it is dedicated, and, worshiped directly. The honden may be missing when there are nearby altar-like structures called himorogi or objects believed capable of attracting spirits called yorishiro that can serve as a direct bond to a kami. There may be a haiden and other structures as well. However, a shrine's most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects rather than for worship. Miniature shrines can be found on roadsides.
Large shrines sometimes have on their precincts miniature shrines. The portable shrines which are carried on poles during festivals enshrine kami and are therefore true shrines. In 927 CE, the Engi-shiki was promulgated; this work listed all of the 2,861 Shinto shrines existing at the time, the 3,131 official-recognized and enshrined Kami. That number has grown and exceeded this figure through the following generations. In Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan placed the number of shrines at 79,467 affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines; some shrines, such as the Yasukuni Shrine are independent of any outside authority. The number of Shinto shrines in Japan is estimated to be around 100,000; this figure may, or may not, include private shrines in homes and owned by small groups, abandoned or derelict shrines, roadside Hokora. etc. Ancestors are kami to be worshiped. Yayoi-period village councils sought the advice of ancestors and other kami, developed instruments to evoke them. Yoshishiro means "approach substitute" and were conceived to attract the kami to allow them physical space, thus making kami accessible to human beings.
Village-council sessions were held in quiet spots in the mountains or in forests near great trees or other natural objects that served as yorishiro. These sacred places and their yorishiro evolved into today's shrines, whose origins can be still seen in the Japanese words for "mountain" and "forest", which can mean "shrine". Many shrines have on their grounds one of the original great yorishiro: a big tree, surrounded by a sacred rope called shimenawa; the first buildings at places dedicated to worship were huts built to house some yorishiro. A trace of this origin can be found in the term hokura, "deity storehouse", which evolved into hokora, is considered to be one of the first words for shrine. True shrines arose with the beginning of agriculture, when the need arose to attract kami to ensure good harvests; these were, just temporary structures built for a particular purpose, a tradition of which traces can be found in some rituals. Hints of the first shrines can still be found there. Ōmiwa Shrine in Nara, for example, contains no sacred images or objects because it is believed to serve the mountain on which it stands.
Those images or objects are therefore unnecessary. For the same reason, it has a worship hall but no place to house the kami. Archeology confirms that, during the Yayoi period, the most common shintai in the earliest shrines were nearby mountain peaks that supplied stream water to the plains where people lived. Besides the mentioned Ōmiwa Shrine, another important example is Mount Nantai, a phallus-shaped mountain in Nikko which constitutes Futarasan Shrine's shintai; the name Nantai means "man's body". The mountain not only provides water to the rice paddies below but has the shape of the phallic stone rods found in pre-agricultural Jōmon sites. In 905 CE, Emperor Daigo ordered a compilation of Shinto rules. Previous attempts at codification are known to have taken place, neither the Konin nor the Jogan Gishiki survive. Under the direction of Fujiwara no Tokihira, the project stalled at his death in April 909. Fujiwara no Tadahira, his brother, took charge and in 912 CE and in 927 CE the Engi-shiki was promulgated in fifty volumes.
This, the first formal codification of Shinto rites and Norito to survive, became the basis for all subsequent Shinto liturgical practice and efforts. In addition to the first ten volumes of this fifty volume work, sections in subsequent volumes addressing the Ministry of Ceremonies and the Ministry of the Imperial Household regulated Shinto worship and contained liturgical rites and regulation. Felicia Gressitt Brock published a two-volume annotated English language translation of the first ten volumes with an introduction entitled Engi-shiki; the arrival of Buddhism changed the situation, introducing to Japan the concept of the permanent shrine. A great number of Buddhist temples were built next to existing shrines in mixed complexes called jingū-ji (神宮寺, lit. shri
Minka are vernacular houses constructed in any one of several traditional Japanese building styles. In the context of the four divisions of society, minka were the dwellings of farmers and merchants; this connotation no longer exists in the modern Japanese language, any traditional Japanese-style residence of an appropriate age could be referred to as minka. Minka are characterised by their roof structure and their roof shape. Minka developed through history with distinctive styles emerging in the Edo period; the term minka means "houses of the people". It covers houses that accommodated a wide variety of people from farmers to village headmen and low level samurai. Minka come in a wide range of styles and sizes as a result of differing geographic and climatic conditions as well as the lifestyle of the inhabitants, they fall into one of four classifications: farmhouses nōka town houses machiya, fishermen's dwellings gyoka and mountain dwellings sanka. Unlike other forms of Japanese architecture, it is the structure rather than the plan, of primary importance to the minka.
Minka are divided up with primary posts that form the basic framework and bear the structural load of the building. Despite the wide variety of minka, there are eight basic forms. The'inverted U' consists of two vertical posts fixed at the top with a horizontal beam; the beam can be fixed to the top of the post either by resting upon it or via a mortise and tenon joint. This latter method is found in minka on the island of Shikoku. The'ladder' has post and beam units connected with larger beams including beams that are closer to the foundation level; this form of structure originated in townhouses of the Edo period. The system allows the irregular placement of posts and, allows flexibility in the plan. With the'umbrella' style, four beams radiate out from a central post; these posts sit at the centre of the square rather than the corners. Minka of this type are found in Shiga Prefecture. The'cross' has two beams at right angles to one another with the posts in the centre of the sides, it is used for small minka that have no other posts erected in the space or for large minka in the earth-floored area.
The style is most found in Shiga and Fukui prefectures.'Parallel crosses' are found in Shizuoka Prefecture and cover an area 5 metres by 10 metres. This system doubles up the ` cross' structure with eight posts; the ` box' structure connects four or more beam units to create a box-like structure. It can be found in Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures. The'interconnected box' can be found in Kyoto and Osaka.'Rising beams' is a form that enables better use of the second storey. It uses beams that rise from the posts to a secondary ridge, below the one formed by the rafters. Thatched roof farmhouses based upon the'rising beam' structure can be further classified into four major types; the yojiro-gumi and the wagoya are rare. The latter of these, the wagoya, is popular for machiya houses. Far more common are the odachi types; the odachi style has rafters and short vertical posts to support the ridge. These posts would have extended to the ground resulting in a row of posts extending down the centre of the house and dividing it.
Although these could be accommodated in the layout of the main house, they were impractical in the earth-floored entrance area—so they were omitted and a special beam structure used instead. This style was in wide use until the Edo period; the sasu style is a simpler triangular shape with a pair of rafters joined at the top to support the ridge pole. The ends of these rafters were sharpened to fit into mortice holes at either end of crossbeam; as this system does not rely on central posts it leaves a more unobstructed plan than the odachi style. There were two main methods for setting out the floor plan of the minka; the kyoma method uses a standard size of tatami mat, whereas the inakama method is based upon column spacing. The kyoma method works well for minka without central columns as the mats and the sliding partitions can be based on a standard size, it was used in minka in eastern Japan. The method has its disadvantages if used with posts because variations in post width can make the prefabrication of the sliding partitions difficult.
The inakama method is based upon the distance between centre of one post and centre of the post adjacent to it and it was used on the eastern side of Japan. The size and decoration of a minka was dependent upon its location and social status of its owner. Minka were influenced by local building techniques and were built with materials that were abundant in the immediate locality. For example, minka in Shizuoka used abundant bamboo for roofs, eaves and floors; when miscanthus reeds were difficult to obtain for thatched roofs, shingles were used instead. Climate had a bearing on construction: In Kyoto in the late Heian and Muromachi periods, roofs were clad in thin wooden shingles so owners would put stones on top to prevent the shingles from flying away in the wind; the social status of the minka owner was indicated by the complexity of the building. For thatched roof minka the nu
Sessha and massha called eda-miya are small or miniature shrines entrusted to the care of a larger shrine due to some deep connection with the enshrined kami. The two terms used to have different meanings, but are today synonyms. Setsumatsusha can lie either inside or outside the main shrine's premises. Setsumatsusha are 1x1 ken in size, they can however be as small as beehives or large and have 1x2, 1x3 or in one case, 1x7 bays. The practice of building sessha and massha shrines within a jinja predates written history; the earliest setsumatsusha had some strong connection to the history of the area or the family of the enshrined kami. During the Heian period, Ise Shrine used to make a distinction between the two types based on whether a shrine belonged to the Engishiki Jinmyōchō list or to the Enryaku gishikichō list. From the Japanese Middle Ages onwards, at other shrines popular kami like Hachiman, Inari or Gozu Tennō were enshrined in setsumatsusha, but no clear distinction between the two terms was made.
From the Meiji period to the Second World War, a shrine dedicated to family members of a kami, to the violent side of a kami, or the kami of the region where the main shrine was, were to be considered sessha with a higher rank than the rest, which were called massha. When the shakaku shrine ranking system was abolished in 1946 the distinction disappeared, but both terms remained in use out of habit. Being true shrines, setsumatsusha have most features other types of shrines have, including doors and stairs. However, the Misedana-zukuri is a style used only in sessha and massha, it owes its name to the fact that, unlike other shrine styles, it doesn't feature a stairway at its entrance, the veranda is flat. Miniature stairways can however be present, they can be either tsumairi, have the entrance under the gable, or, more hirairi, that is, have the entrance on the side parallel to the roof's ridge. Apart from the lack of a staircase, such shrines belong to the nagare-zukuri or kasuga-zukuri styles