Honden (main building) of Toshogu Shrine
The only mausoleum architecture in the Hida region
Although Kanamori Shigeyori enshrined Tokugawa Ieyasu in Toshogu Shrine located in Takayama Castle in 1616, the shrine was relocated and reconstructed in the current place in 1680. Although the number of Toshogu Shrines in Japan increased to well over 100 during the Kanei Era (1624–1644), the Toshogu Shrine in Takayama after this period was reduced to ruins due to the Kanamori clan’s transfer to Dewa. Lamenting this fact, Kanamori Shigetou, a descendant of the clan, aimed at the reconstruction of the shrine.
Welcoming Mizuma Sagami Soshun as a master carpenter and with Nakagawa Kichibei, the master of Taniguchi Yoroku, who was an expert float sculptor, taking charge of the carvings, the shrine was completed in 1818. In 1961, the roofs of the honden and the karamon (Chinese-style gate) were changed from persimmon roofing to copper sheet roofing, and in 1975, the stone wall and stone steps were repaired.
The external appearance of the building shows the introduction of the karamon and the surrounding sukibei (see-through fence) with openwork engraving of gingko leaves. A series of arrangements and patterns of this residence are typical of mausoleum architecture completed in the Momoyama Period, and the only such architecture in Hida. The honden is a kiritsuma-zukuri (gable roof style) building with a gohai (a roof built over the steps leading up to a temple building) in Chinese-style gable attached to the flat side, and a chidori hafu (a dormer and plover gable mounted on the front roof.) The architectural styles of suikibei, karamon and independent honden resemble those of Toshogu Shrines throughout Japan.