Nikko Toshogu Shrine
The most noteworthy of Nikko’s religious buildings is Toshogu, where Tokugawa Ieyasu was enshrined after his death in 1616. Twenty years later, Ieyasu’s grandson (Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa shogun) constructed an elaborate complex around Ieyasu's mausoleum. Its 55 buildings include eight National Treasures, notably Yomeimon, a lavish gate covered with complex wood carvings, bright paintings and gold leaf. While exploring the site, look out for a few of the quirkier carvings—a sleeping cat, angry-looking clawed elephants (the artist had never seen one), and the famous three monkeys in “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” poses. Just outside the complex is the modern Nikko Toshogu Museum, where you can learn more about the first shogun.
Restoration of the shrine complex is expected to finish in 2020; some areas will remain open throughout.