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It's easy to get out of Tokyo for trips lasting a day or longer. One of the best is a couple of hours north of the capital where the pilgrimage town of Nikko is home to the World Heritage-listed Tosho-gu complex. The Technicolor antithesis of the usually austere Shinto shrine, Tosho-gu contains the mausoleum of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Equally dazzling is Taiyuin-byo the mausoleum of Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu. Also in this complex of religious buildings nestling amid shady pine forests are the shrine Futarasan-jinja and the temple Rinno-ji. The serene Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa was where the current emperor spent WWII as a ...

It's easy to get out of Tokyo for trips lasting a day or longer. One of the best is a couple of hours north of the capital where the pilgrimage town of Nikko is home to the World Heritage-listed Tosho-gu complex. The Technicolor antithesis of the usually austere Shinto shrine, Tosho-gu contains the mausoleum of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Equally dazzling is Taiyuin-byo the mausoleum of Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu. Also in this complex of religious buildings nestling amid shady pine forests are the shrine Futarasan-jinja and the temple Rinno-ji. The serene Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa was where the current emperor spent WWII as a child.

The beautiful mountain countryside surrounding Nikko is protected within a national park. For more than a century people have vacationed here to escape the summer heat – the town’s historic Nikko Kanaya Hotel shouldn’t be missed; it has a second, newer outpost deeper into the park beside lovely Lake Chuzeji. Come here too to see the Kegon waterfalls, go hiking and ride boats on the water. Farther still into the mountains you’ll find Yumoto Onsen, a hot spring resort that’s a wonderful place for relaxation amid nature.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Nikkō is a city in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Approximately 140 km north of Tokyo and 35 km west of Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi Prefecture, it is a popular destination for Japanese and international tourists.
  • Language: Japanese
  • Currency: Japanese Yen
  • Research: Three Wise Monkeys | Wikitravel | Wikipedia | Japan
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Autumn is peak season for the fantastic fall colours — it's very busy in Nikko at this time and over the summer.