Nikko: Exploring Japan’s Sacred City


Nikko is a small city located in Tochigi Prefecture, about 150 kilometers north of Tokyo. The city is famous for its beautiful shrines and temples, as well as its stunning natural scenery. With a history that dates back over 1,200 years, Nikko has long been a center of religious and cultural significance in Japan.

History of Nikko

The history of Nikko can be traced back to the 8th century when a Buddhist monk named Shodo Shonin arrived in the area and established a temple. Over time, other temples and shrines were built in the area, and Nikko became an important center of Buddhism and Shintoism.

In the 17th century, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, chose Nikko as the site for his mausoleum. A complex of temples and shrines was built on the site, including Toshogu Shrine, which is considered one of the most elaborate and impressive shrines in Japan.

Exploring Nikko

One of the most popular attractions in Nikko is Toshogu Shrine, which is located in the heart of the city. The shrine was built in the early 17th century and is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. The shrine’s buildings are adorned with intricate carvings and paintings, and visitors can see a variety of impressive structures, including the Yomeimon Gate, the Five-Story Pagoda, and the Sacred Stable, which features a carving of the Three Wise Monkeys.

Another popular attraction in Nikko is the Futarasan Shrine, which is located on the slopes of Mt. Nantai. The shrine is dedicated to the three deities of Nikko’s mountains, and visitors can explore the shrine’s beautiful grounds and buildings, including the Shinkyo Bridge, which is one of Japan’s most famous bridges.

Nikko also offers visitors the chance to explore its beautiful natural scenery. The city is surrounded by mountains, lakes, and waterfalls, and visitors can hike through the forests or take a scenic drive along the Irohazaka Winding Road, which offers stunning views of the mountains.

Getting to Nikko

Nikko is located about two hours north of Tokyo and is easily accessible by train or bus. Visitors can take the Tobu Railway from Asakusa Station in Tokyo to Nikko, which takes approximately two hours. Alternatively, visitors can take a bus from Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station, which also takes approximately two hours.

Nikko is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Japan. The city’s rich history, beautiful shrines and temples, and stunning natural scenery make it a perfect spot for spiritual reflection and relaxation. So, why not add Nikko to your travel itinerary and experience its beauty and serenity for yourself?