[Kanto Touring Spot] [Tochigi Prefecture] Bike trip to Rinnoji Temple in Nikko! A solo trip on a Harley to visit national treasures and important cultural properties

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta.
This time, I took a motorcycle tour from central Tokyo to Rinnoji Temple in Nikko.
Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple is a temple of the Tendai sect located in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, and is a World Heritage Site that, along with Toshogu Shrine and Futarasan Shrine, is known as “Two Shrines and One Temple.”
Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple has many cultural properties, including national treasures and important cultural properties, and the main hall, Sanbutsu-do Hall, is the largest wooden structure in eastern Japan.
We will introduce the history, highlights, motorcycle parking, etc. of Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple.


What is Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple?


Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple is said to have been founded by Shodo Shonin, a monk from Shimotsuke Province, during the Nara period.
Shodo Shonin believed in Mt. Nantai (Mt. Futara), a sacred mountain in Nikko, as the abode of the Bodhisattva Kannon, and built Shibonryuji Temple at the foot of it, where the Senju Kannon was enshrined.
He also founded the Futarasan Shrine, which is dedicated to the god of Mt. Nantai.
In this way, at Mt. Nikko, the mountain, gods, and Buddha were worshiped as one.

Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple reached its peak of prosperity during the Edo period under the patronage of the Tokugawa family.
In particular, Tokugawa Iemitsu built Toshogu Shrine to enshrine his father, Tokugawa Ieyasu, as Tosho Daigongen.
He also built a magnificent mausoleum called Taiyuin Mausoleum.
These buildings are decorated with gorgeous carvings and decorations called Nikkobori'', and are so beautiful that the sayingDon’t say Nikko is fine without seeing it” was coined.

Route to Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple

This time, I toured from central Tokyo to Mt. Nikko Rinnoji Temple on my favorite Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide.
The distance is approximately 160 kilometers and the journey time is approximately 2 and a half hours.
If using the expressway, take the Shuto Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line to the Shuto Expressway Chuo Loop Line, then transfer to the Shuto Expressway Kawaguchi Line at Kosuge JCT.
Then, take the Tohoku Expressway and exit at Utsunomiya IC.
From there, take Nikko Utsunomiya Road and exit at Nikko IC.
From there, take National Route 119, cross Shinkyo Bridge and enter Prefectural Route 247.
From there, you will arrive at Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple in about 3 kilometers.

Highlights of Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple

There are many attractions at Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple, but the following three are especially recommended.


Sanbutsu-do is the main hall of Rinno-ji Temple in Nikko, and is the largest wooden structure in eastern Japan.
Three Buddhist statues are enshrined here: Senju Kannon, Amida Nyorai, and Bato Kannon, which are the original Buddhas of the Sanzan Nikko.
These Buddha statues are some of the largest in Japan, each over 7 meters tall.
In addition, the Sanbutsu-do Hall displays secret Buddha statues and important cultural properties that have been passed down from Rinnoji Temple in Nikko.

Taiyuin Mausoleum


Taiyuin Mausoleum is a group of buildings built by Tokugawa Iemitsu as his own mausoleum.
It consists of three buildings: the main hall, the main hall, and the hall of worship, and is designated as a national treasure.
The main shrine houses Iemitsu’s memorial tablet and hair.
In the so-no-ma room, Iemitsu’s favorite items and belongings are on display.
In the worship hall, you can see the Tosho Gongen statue dedicated to Iemitsu and masterpieces of Nikko carving.



Jigen-do is a hall that enshrines the priest Tenkai, who is said to be the founder of the revitalization of Rinno-ji Temple in Nikko.
Tenkai Sojo was a monk who was active in the early Edo period, had close friendships with Tokugawa Ieyasu and Tokugawa Iemitsu, and worked hard to build Rinnoji Temple and Toshogu Shrine in Nikko.
The wooden statue and belongings of Sojo Tenkai are enshrined in Jigendo.
Also, behind the Jigen-do Hall, there is the tomb of Tenkai Sojo.

Motorcycle parking lot at Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple


Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple does not have a dedicated parking lot for motorcycles, but there are several paid parking lots nearby.
It can get crowded on weekends and holidays and during busy periods, so we recommend going early or making reservations in advance.



This time, I took a motorcycle tour from central Tokyo to Rinnoji Temple in Nikko.
Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple is a historic temple that dates back to the Nara period and is also registered as a World Heritage Site.
There were many attractions such as Sanbutsu-do Hall and Taiyu-in Mausoleum, and we were able to enjoy cultural properties and Nikko carvings.
There was a motorcycle parking lot nearby, but be careful as it can get crowded.
At Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple, you can also enjoy gourmet foods such as yuba'' andhimokawa udon,” which are specialties of “Tochigi Prefecture.”
Please come and visit us at least once.