Nikko offers a haven for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, along with a slew of unique, off-the-beaten-track activities.
With more than 12 centuries of history, Futarasan Shrine in Tochigi Prefecture has been inscribed as part of the “Shrines and Temples of Nikkō” UNESCO World Heritage site, along with the neighboring Tōshōgū mausoleum complex and the Buddhist temple Rinnōji. It remains popular today as a spot to pray for good fortune and matchmaking luck.
Nikko was founded in the 8th century by Shodo Shonin, a Zen Buddhist monk before there was any bakufu or shogun in Japan. The first shogun was Minamoto Yoritomo, appointed by the emperor, Go-Toba, on August 21, 1192. Although the emperor officially remained the head of the nation by title, Minamoto Yoritomo was responsible for overseeing the day to day welfare of the nation.
Looking for the soul of modern Japan on an ancient road once traveled by poets and samurai…
Source: The Way of the Shogun
Given the best of both worlds, nature and natural history, it’s no wonder that Nikko’s name is derived from the kanji characters for sunlight. Packed with spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites set against a backdrop that showcases the very best of the seasons (in autumn it’s like stepping into a billboard promoting travel to Japan), Nikko is a shining gem.
From the world heritage shrines and temples to the Imperial Villa, here’s the best way to spend a day exploring places to go and things to do in Nikko.
The ornately decorated Nikko Toshogu Shrine was built in 1636 to enshrine Tokugawa Ieyasu. The colorful buildings set in a deep green forest is a must-see when visiting Nikko. Nikko is a beautiful area to visit in Japan and it’s the home to many shrines and temples with historical importance. Among all the sites, it is best known for the lavishly decorated Nikko Toshogu Shrine. It is part of Nikko UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Futarasan-jinja Shrine and Rinnoji Temple. Where is Nikko Toshogu Shrine.
Have you ever heard of Nikko? It’s a major tourist area in the Kanto region located in northwest Tochigi Prefecture that’s a short two hours train ride away from Tokyo. This is where places of interest such as UNESCO World Heritage Site Nikkō Tōshō-gū and Fukuroda Falls, one of the three great waterfalls of Japan can be found. There’s also the Irohazaka – a winding road that was practically made for autumn leaves viewing, a popular activity many will be engaging in for the upcoming autumn season! And there’s more!
Things to do in Nikko, Japan. Located just a couple of hours north of Tokyo, this is the perfect weekend trip to discover Japanese culture and enjoy nature.