Where magnificent architecture, deep history and untouched nature merge
Nikko’s beautiful setting and sacred mountains have been the backdrop of Shinto and Buddhist worship since at least the 8th century. Its most famous shrines and temples, among the most magnificent in Japan, are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The surrounding national park is a destination for hikers of all levels.
- Taking in Nikko’s World Heritage architecture
- Crossing into the Futarasan Shrine grounds at Shinkyo Bridge
- Hiking Nikko’s sacred surroundings
World Heritage Nikko
The World Heritage site Shrines and Temples of Nikko consists of 103 structures spread over three complexes. They are all within easy walking distance of each other, making for an unforgettable day absorbing some of Japan’s most gilded religious architecture.
One of the most impressive and rightfully most visited is the Toshogu Shrine complex. Toshogu is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the powerful Tokugawa Shogunate which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Lavish, colorful, and intricately carved, Toshogu Shrine stands in stark contrast to many of Japan’s more stoic religious structures.
Take plenty of time to absorb the detail of its five-storied pagoda, colorful storehouses, and the dazzling and flamboyantly carved Yomeimon Gate. Walk up to the Inner Shrine grave for a beautiful view over the shrine complex. Do not miss the Toshogu Museum on the approach to the shrine, complete with anime of the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu.