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Nikko is located 75 miles north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture. Though Nikko has been a sacred place for over a thousand years in Shinto as well as in Buddhism, it had to wait until 1616 to take off when Tokugawa Ieyasu - founder of the Tokugawa shogunate died. The shogun Ieyasu willed that a shrine deifying him be built at Nikko. Ieyasu was posthumously deified as Toshogu Daigongen (The Great Incarnation Who Illuminates the East) by the imperial court. In the Edo Period (1600-1868) it became famous as the site of Toshogu Shrine which contains the mausoleum of Tokugwa Ieyasu. Most of today's highly ornamental buildings of the shrine were built by Tokugawa Iemitsu - a grandson of Ieyasu and the third Tokugawa shogun. Iemitsu cherished Ieyasu's memory through his life and Taiyuin (Iemitsu's mausoleum) was built in accordance with his last instruction near the Toshogu Shrine.

The striking grandeur of the shrine displays wealth and power of the family of Tokugawa which ruled Japan for nealy three hundred years. It is said to construct the shrine buildings and elaborate reliefs, some 15,000 artisans were gathered from all over Japan.

Nikko was designated as a National Park in 1934 and the World Heritage in 1999. The national park offers scenic spots such as Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls, as well as numerous temples and shrines. Nikko had about 11 million visitors in 2008.

The shrine has two major events in a year. They are Annual Spring Festival and Annual Autumn Festival. Spring Festival is on May 17 and 18 and Autumn Festival on October 16 and 17. The same days of the months every year. Yabusame is held on the first day of the festival at 1 p.m. and 1,000 samurai procession on the second day at 11 a.m.

Access: Tobu Nikko Line from Asakusa. (Less than 2 hours trip by express trains)
Telephone: Nikko Kanko Kyokai 0288-54-2496/ Nikko City: 0288-22-1111

.(Yomeimon Gate of Nikko Toshogu Shrine's Repair Work Finished on March 9, 2017)

Yabusame (May 17 and Oct. 16)

1,000 Samurai Procession (May 18 and Oct. 17)
1,000 Samurai Procession taking a break at Otabisho
1,000 Samurai Procession (Return from Otabisho)
Toshogu - Reliefs

Rinnoji Temple
Tokugawa Ieyasu Mausoleum
Toshogu a la carte

Futarasan Shrine

Shinkyo Bridge

Five-Storied Pagoda

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