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Ancient capital of heritage and nature

Backdrop of Shinto and Buddhist worship since the 8th century. Surrounded by three sacred peaks of Nikko Sanzan a place for the ancient tradition of mountain worship.


Discover Nikko

This mystical place has attracted pilgrims for centuries. UNESCO World Heritage site Tosho-gu Shrine is vivid colourful with ornate carvings. Explore the 103 structures spread over three complexes.

Denizens of Tosho-gu monkeys relate to ‘See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil’.
Toshogu is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the powerful Tokugawa Shogunate which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Toshogu Treasure Museum on the approach animates the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

A stroll through the surrounding forest uncovers other beautiful holy sites dotted around. The shrines and temples include a five-storied pagoda, colourful storehouses, and a flamboyant Yomeimon Gate. At Shinkyo Bridge cross into the Futarasan-jinja Shrine dedicated to the worship of Nikko’s three sacred mountains. Safe crossing for the first priest came as the river god answered his plea and giant snakes that formed the bridge.

Rinnoji Temple three regal Buddha intertwine faiths, other evidence also found at Taiyuinbyo Temple is brilliantly decorated with a mix of Shinto and Buddhist elements. It is the mausoleum of the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu who in 1636 transformed the original Toshogu Shrine into something marvelous.

Further up in the mountains await the serene Chuzenji Lake and spectacular cascades of Kegon Waterfalls. Lake Chuzenji is Japan’s highest elevation natural lake. The terrain, hilly and forested, is a blast of orange in Autumn. Nikko Natural Science Museum exhibits explain the area’s natural history. Chuzenjiko Onsen hot springs are on the northeastern shore along with with a small cluster of restaurants and shops. Chuzenji Temple on the eastern shore has great views and impressive Buddhist artwork.

Former Nikko residence of the Imperial Family is the Tamozawa Imperial villa, is one of largest remaining wooden buildings in Japan. Some of the structure dates back to 1632. The Tokugawa and Imperial families have enjoyed the refreshing air in higher altitude here escaping the warmer summers in Tokyo. Observe a curious mix of Japanese and Western styles in the 106 rooms, with carpeted floors, elaborate chandeliers as well as sliding paper doors and tatami flooring.

In Spring late the old Nikko Kaido Route, between Utsunomiya and Nikko becomes a 16-kilometer corridor of blooming Cherry trees.

While in town, don’t miss eating Yuba, a Nikko specialty. Yuba is a soy product that has featured in Buddhist cuisine for centuries. Locals put it in almost everything, including ramen, sushi, rice cookies, and Nikko’s famed Yuba Manju sweets.


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