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Nikko-san Rinnoji Temple 日光山輪王寺

Nikko-san Rinnoji Temple Nikko-san Rinnoji Temple
Nikko-san Rinnoji Temple Nikko-san Rinnoji Temple

©Nikko-zan Rinno-ji Temple

Nikko's ornate temple to the mountain gods

Like the neighboring Toshogu Shrine , elaborate, gilded carvings distinguish Rinnoji Temple, which enshrines the three Buddhas of the mountains behind it. Founded by the monk Shodo Shonin, it is Nikko's most important Buddhist temple.

Quick Facts

Founded in 766 by the Buddhist monk Shodo Shonin, it is still used for ascetic training among Tendai monks

Major renovation of the building ended in 2020 and the whole site is now opened to the public.

How to Get There

Access is by foot or bus from the main train stations.

From Nikko Station or Tobu Nikko Station, you can take the World Heritage tour bus that stops at the UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Rinnoji Temple. The bus ride will take about 15 minutes.

Walking to the temple takes longer, but Nikko has a lot of beautiful sights to see. The walk takes about 45 minutes from Nikko Station.

Rinnoji Temple in early fall ©Nikko-zan Rinno-ji Temple

The most impressive sight at Rinnoji Temple is the three gilded Buddha statues, each 7.5 meters tall. The three statues represent the deities of the three mountains of Nikko, Mt. Nantai, Mt. Nyoho and Mt. Taro.

©Nikko-zan Rinno-ji Temple

Both Rinnoji Temple and Futarasan-jinja Shrine were founded by the Buddhist priest Shodo Shonin as places of worship in the mountains. This temple is a notable example of how the two religions co-exist in Japan.

Surrounded by towering cedar trees and lush forests, the whole area is especially impressive with the fall colors.

Like much of Nikko's shrines and temples, Rinnoji Temple was built to complement the surrounding nature. ©Nikko-zan Rinno-ji Temple

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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