Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

About Nikko - The Ishidorii

The Ishidorii is a stone torii gate that was originally dedicated in 1618. It is 9 meters tall and the pillars at the base have a diameter of 3.6 meters. The Ishidorii is considered one of the three best stone torii gates in Japan. It is the biggest among the stone-made torii gates from the Edo period. The other two gates are located at the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto and the Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura.

Emperor Gomizunoo (1596-1680) wrote "Tosho-daigongen" (Divine designation of Ieyasu Tokugawa) which is on the frame on the upper part of the Ishidorii. The main material for the gate is granite which was produced in Fukuoka prefecture. The gate is made up of 15 pieces of the stone material. Each piece is connected by an axle, and the crossmembers have cavities to reduce the weight. The gate also was designed with earthquake resistant features. The joint of the cross members slipped during a 1949 earthquake but they shifted back into place during subsequent aftershocks. (Nikko Tourist Association)

This is a pretty impressive gate. It is at the top of a long series of wide steps which are at the top end of a short dirt road within the Toshogu temple complex. In 2004, I attended the annual 1000 Samurai Procession Festival. I was at the bottom end of the road looking back up towards the Ishidorii. The 1000 samurai bagan their procession near the gate and proceeded down the road. This event occurred on a Sunday. On Saturday, there was a demonstration where horse-mounted samurai road full-speed up the road without using their hands to guide the horse. They were using both of their hands to fire a bow and arrow at targets as they flew by at full speed. They guided their horses with their legs. (Previous post on this festival).


  1. Anonymous12:17 AM

    I love Toshogu. I went there in 2005, and remember this gate very well. There's so little I understood at the time, that it's nice to read about it again. Thanks!