Tochigi Prefecture is located in the northern Kanto region. This is a picturesque area with mountains covered with dense forests, with an abundance of waterfalls and hot thermal springs. A significant part of the prefecture is occupied by the internationally famous Nikko National Park, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The name "Nikko" literally translates to "sunshine". Its history as a national park and shrine dates back to the fourth century, when the first Shinto shrine was built here. And in the eighth century, on the top of the extinct volcano Futurasan, through the efforts of the monk Shodo, a legendary figure in the history of Japan, a Shinto shrine was erected, which is now one of the main local attractions. Nikko began to acquire its current sacred status as a cultural and natural treasure at the beginning of the Edo era, in the seventeenth century, when the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the shogunate and unifier of the country, was located here. Even then, Nikko began to acquire the significance of both a religious and historical sanctuary, and a natural resort, where one could relax in a traditional inn, a ryuokan, and immerse oneself in the healing waters of thermal springs. Nowadays, Nikko National Park retains this status with the only difference that it has now acquired international significance.

Culture, attractions
and entertainment

Nikko is a stunning combination of natural and man-made beauties; many believe that there is powerful energy here. The Tosho-gu temple complex is the central element of the entire Nikko shrine complex. It is here that the mausoleum of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu is located, to which an alley of cryptometria, Japanese cedars, dating back three centuries, leads. It is believed that in the main hall, which is called Honden, the spirits of three great rulers of Japan from different eras, deified, in accordance with the canons of Shinto, found their peace - Tokugawa himself, as well as Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Yoritomo Minamoto. And Ieyasu’s ashes are buried in the Hodo Pagoda, to which two hundred stone steps lead. Here, in Tosho-gu, there is also a famous sacred stable with a world-famous bas-relief representing a composition of three monkeys: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Of course, the beautiful red Shinkyo Bridge, built here where, according to legend, the monk Shodo crossed the stormy river, also deserves attention. In the past, only the rulers of Japan - emperors and shoguns - had the right to cross this sacred bridge. Another famous temple, Rinno-ji, is the local center of the mountain Buddhist faith that has existed in the area for a long time. In its Hall of the Three Buddhas there are statues of three incarnations of the Buddha - the Goddess of Mercy Kannon, Buddha Amida and the thousand-armed Kannon. Not far from the temple is the so-called bronze Pillar of Peace, where a thousand Buddhist sutras of the world are hidden - wise sayings and aphorisms. Directly next to Rinno-ji is the Sho-en Landscape Garden Park, whose name means “Garden of the Four Seasons.” The garden's vegetation is organized in such a way that it takes on four different appearances in each season. Fans of “pure” natural beauty head to the magnificent Kegon Falls, considered one of the most beautiful in all of Japan. It falls from a height of one hundred meters and is formed by a mountain river flowing from the picturesque Lake Tudenshi. And for onsen lovers, Nikko has the Yumoto hot mineral springs complex. It is located around the ryuokan in a small town of the same name, located on the shores of Lake Yunoko. Nikko is without a doubt the crown jewel of Tochigi Prefecture. However, this is not its only attraction. The Nasu region is famous not only for its delicious sake production and local thermal springs. One of the imperial residences is located here, which already says a lot about the status of the place. From Nikko to Tokyo is approximately 140 km, this route can be covered by car in about 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take the Shinkansen Super Express to Utsunomiya Station and then transfer to the local JR Nikko Line. You can also take the Tobu Express Train in about 2 hours.
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