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Nikkō: Tōshō-gū - Omizuya | by wallyg
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Nikkō: Tōshō-gū - Omizuya

The Omizuya (御水舎), or Sacred Fountain or Water House, features a tsukubai covered with an ornate Chinese style roof, was dedicated by Nabeshima Katsushige (鍋島勝茂), an Edo-era daimyo and lord of Saga-han in 1618. A sculpture of a dragons flying over waves is carved just underneath the roof. In accordance with Shintō practice, worshippers would practice ritual purification by rinsing their hands and mouth with the water from this basin.


Nikkō Tōshō-gū (日光東照宮) is a lavishly decorated shrine complex consisting of more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings set in a beautiful forest. It was initially built during the Edo period in 1617 by Tokugawa Hidetada (徳川 秀忠), the second shogun, as a simple mausoleum for his father, Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康) (1543-1615), the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Ieyasu was buried on Mount Kunozan on his death in 1616, but according to his testament, his remains were to be moved to their last resting place at Nikko. It was enlarged during the first half of the 187th century by Ieyasu’s grandson, Tokugawa Iemitsu (徳川 家光), the third shogun. Some 15,000 craftsmen were employed on the construction of the Toshogu Shrine, most of them coming from Kyoto and Nara, where there was a great flowering of architecture at that period. The result was a complex of buildings with an over-lavish profusion of decoration, incorporating all the sumptuousness of the preceding Momoyama period.


Today the shrine is dedicated to the spirits of of Ieyasu and two other of Japan's most influential historical personalities—Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉) (1536-1598), a daimyo (territorial lord) in the Sengoku period who unified political factions of Japan; and Minamoto no Yorimoto (源 頼朝) (1147-1199), the founder and the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate, ruling from 1192 until 1199.


Together with Rinnō-ji and Futarasan Shrine, Tōshō-gū forms the Shrines and Temples of Nikkō UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Taken on May 16, 2011