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
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)
|Tokugawa Ieyasu Mausoleum
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