I arrived at the Taiyu-In Mausoleum when it opened, which from memory was 9am. Fortunately, there were very few people around at this time of day. This is the Niomon Gate, the lowest gate. The stone lanterns at the side are donations from daimyo.
This is one of the Nio warrior gods at the Niomon Gate, trying to ensure the wrong kind of visitors don’t pass.
Through the Niomon Gate and up the stairs to the left, this is the Red God of Thunder at the Nitenmon Gate.
Further on and up several flights of stairs, we are now looking through the Yashamon Gate to the Karamon Gate, which in turn leads to the main temple buildings.
Fodor’s Japan (2012 edition), otherwise a useful guide, has an image of this gate described as being in Rinno-Ji, which is a different location and clearly wrong.
This striking structure is the drum tower in front of the Yashomon Gate. There is a similar structure on the other side of the path (behind us) which is the bell tower. Sadly, these two towers are no longer in use. The drum is said to signify positive/ birth, while the bell signifies negative/ death.
These are two of the four statues of Yasha, a fierce guardian spirit at the Yashomon Gate.
This is the top of the Karamon Gate that we were looking through to earlier, with huge beams covered in gold leaf and wonderful wooden carvings, a foretaste of things to come.
These are the main buildings of the inner sanctuary, the Haiden and the Honden. The Haiden contains a famous seventeenth century lion painting while the Honden (usually closed to the public) contains a giant gilded Buddha statue and a wooden statue of Tokugawa Iemitsu.
This is the tomb of Tokugawa Iemitsu, whose mausoleum this is. This is as far as you could get, though.
Tokugawa Iemitsu was the third Tokugawa shogun and ruled from 1623 until his death in 1651, although his father had effective control until 1632. He centralised power and replaced previously powerful daimyo with his own appointees. He also curtailed regional power by introducing the system where daimyo had to spend fixed periods of time in the capital Edo (now Tokyo) and leave their wives there when they were absent. As well as that, he completed the suppression of the Christians that had begun under his father and restricted access to the outside world to a few specific groups and places.
The preceding three images and the following images show some of the wonderful architectural details as I walked out again from the inner area of the Taiyu-In Temple – edges of the roof, cornices and elaborate painted wooden relief sculptures below the roofline. I took larger, overall images as I walked in and found details as I walked out.