Designed to resemble the path to heaven
Following his death, Iemitsu was given the name Taiyuin from the Emperor. Taiyuin refers to a person that has accomplished great political achievements. At Taiyuinbyo, the view changes each time you pass through one of the five large or small gates; people say that you feel as though you are rising up to heaven when you walk through the path to the main sanctuary from the Niomon gate, or the two guardian Deva gate. After passing through the Deva gate, the entrance of Taiyuin, a large gate comes into view. This is the Nitenmon gate. The Nitenmon gate features two of the four Indian guardian deities that were incorporated into Buddhism: Dhrtarastra and Virupaksa. Placed in the background are the Wind God and the Thunder God (the most familiar natural phenomena, strong wind and thunder, that have been deified). After passing through the Nitenmon gate and climbing up to the top of the stone steps, you will see hanging lamps everywhere. The view from here is likened to the view from heaven.
The richly colored Yaksha statues are something to see
The first entrance to the grave is the Yaksha gate. Your eyes will be attracted to the vivid colors of the statues. In total four Yaksha (Indian guardian deities/demonic warriors incorporated into Buddhism) are placed at the front and the back on the right and the left to protect the grave. At the front of the Hall of Worship after passing through the Yaksha gate is the Chinese-style gate which is located at the center of Taiyuinbyo. Though small in size, the entire gate is covered with detailed carvings and the gate’s gold and white based colors are profoundly elegant. The walls on the side of the gate are covered entirely with carvings of pigeons. Some say that the pigeon is a symbol of the relationship between Ieyasu and Iemitsu. To get to the grave of Iemitsu located at the very back of Taiyuinbyo behind the main hall, one must pass through the Kokamon gate. This breathtaking structure is also called Ryugumon (dragon palace style gate) because elements of Chinese architectural styles were incorporated into its design. When you look up while passing through the gate, you will see heavenly maidens on the ceiling; they symbolize that you are about to enter a sanctuary. Visitors cannot pass through Kokamon as it is not opened to the public.