The largest wooden building in East Japan
Nikko-zan Rinnoji is a collective name for a number of halls and pagodas as well as 15 sub temples. The center of Rinnoji is the main hall, Sanbutsudo, which is the largest wooden building in East Japan. Inside the hall are three enormous shiny golden Buddha statues. The main hall (Sanbutsudo) is currently undergoing “the great repair of the Heisei period” but visitors can view the interior of the building and pray to the three Buddha statues during the construction period despite the repair work that is going on.
Enjoy the various traditional events of each season including the unique ceremony Gohanshiki
Gohanshiki ceremony is held on April 2 every year. It starts out by sharing offerings with the visitors. At the ceremony, the participators are forced to eat a huge bowl of rice. It is said that the ceremony viewers will be free of any illness and that they receive luck that causes their family to prosper. In August, torchlight Noh performance is held. At this event, Noh and Kyogen plays are performed outdoors during the night while lighting the stage with bonfire torches. Noh and Kyogen are designated as intangible cultural properties and are the world’s oldest forms of theatrical art: Noh performance combines dance, acting and music while Kyogen is a theatrical performance consisting of spoken dialog and stylized movements. A popular event held annually on New Year’s Eve is the Saitodaigomaku ceremony. Starting at 11:45 p.m., special firewood carrying people’s wishes are burned for about 50 minutes; people standing around the bonfire pray for good luck and get their bad luck of the coming year cast away by the fire and the rising smoke. While visitors should dress warmly since it is quite cold, you can also borrow small blankets from the temple. The Shoyoen garden in the temple grounds is known as a great spot for viewing fall foliage. The trees are lit up every year during the fall foliage season. The garden stretches long from the east to the west with a distant view of Mount Nantai and Mount Nyoho; stroll around the pond and enjoy the dynamic views created by employing a “borrowed view” landscape gardening technique which takes in even the views of the mountains in the distance as the garden’s background.