The final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu
Nikko is most famous for the ornate shrine called Toshogu. This shrine is dedicated to the first shogun and founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Tokugawa Shogunate kept Japan relatively peaceful throughout the Edo Period which lasted from 1603 to 1868.
Nikko was originally founded in the late Nara Period (710-794) when the high priest Shodo Shonin hiked into the mountainous area and transformed the area into an important center for Buddhist culture.
There are other important temples and shrines in the area, including Rinnoji, which was also founded by Shodo Shonin. Rinnoji is the most important Buddhist temple in the area and has a lovely Japanese garden. In addition, there are a number of breathtaking natural sights and hot springs in the Nikko area, and the town itself is also quite charming – many people come here from Tokyo in order to find relief from the stress of working in the city throughout the week.
The mountains surrounding Nikko are also worth a visit. This area is known as Okunikko (“Inner Nikko”). Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenjiko) is a beautiful lake with forested shores at the foot of the sacred volcano Mount Nantai. The lake was formed several thousand years ago when the volcano erupted and blocked the flow of the river creating a natural reservoir. Today, it is part of Nikko National Park. Access to Lake Chuzenji and the inner regions of the national park is via the “Irohazaka Winding Road”. The road ascends more than 400 meters (435 yards) in altitude and is named “Iroha” because the original road consisted of 48 needlepoint curves, the same number as there are letters in the Japanese syllabary, formerly known as “iroha”. There are separate roads for uphill and downhill traffic.
In 1999, Nikko and the surrounding mountainous area were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their cultural and historical importance as well as the need to protect them.
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It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...
Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.
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