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Why Nikko National Park is special ?
The Nikko National Park is home to Buddhist shrines, incredible lakes, mountains, and natural beauty. It is renowned for its Botanical Garden, the intricate Iemitsu's Mausoleum, and the Toshogu Shrine, which is the most ornate and lavish shrine in all of Japan.
The Toshogu Shrine is Nikko's main attraction. A mausoleum dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, the shrine was designed by over 15,000 craftsman in two years, and is distinguished for its rich colors, elaborate carvings, and ornate details in gold leaf.
As for the Iemitsu's Mausoleum, it is known as Taiyuinbyo, and is more traditional in design. It is part of the Rinno-ji Temple, which is dedicated to the Buddhist monk who introduced Buddhism to Nikko.
The Nikko National Park is also known for its natural beauty. Popular destinations include Lake Chuzenji, which is surrounded by forests and has wonderful hot springs, Kegon Waterfall, and Ryuzu Waterfall. And there is the not-to-be-missed Nikko Botanical Garden, which has over 1,500 different plant species!
What to explore at Nikko National Park?
Nikko National Park has a great deal of both man-made as well as natural beauty that makes the park a must see for anyone coming to Japan. The park can be found north of Tokyo on the island of Honshu, and is famous for its hiking and outdoor attractions. Here visitors can even enjoy onsen (hot springs) at any of the numerous resorts found at the park. The Nikko National Park is one of the best reasons to get out of the city and enjoy the real Japan.
Inside Nikko National Park visitors can see many beautiful, historic, and at times lavishly decorated shrines and temples. These religious structures have even been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and have a great deal of historical significance.
How to get to Nikko National Park?
Take a train to the Nikko Station. From here visitors can either walk to the shrines and lake or take buses. There are day passes sold for the buses, 500 Yen, but they are also covered by the JR Rail Pass.
- Nice for an overnight stay
- Breathtaking and easy access from Tokyo
- The real deal for Japanese history
- Massive Cedar trees
- A wonderful discovery
Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture
Tips for you
Each temple and shrine have their own admission price, but combination passes are available. Pass for the Rinnoji, Taiyuinbyo, and Futarasan Shrine: 1,000 Yen Pass for Toshogu Shrine: 1,300 Yen * These Passes do not give you access to the Nemuri Neko Carving nor the Leyasu Tomb. That will be an additional 520 Yen.Prices
Perhaps like most overseas visitors we had been drawn to visit Nikko because of the temples and shrines, but we decided also to visit the National Park. What a discovery: it gets little emphasis in the guidebooks. It is obviously well known and loved by Japanese visitors, so maybe they deliberately keep it to themselves. Confusingly, some references apply the National Park term to include the temple area though the park proper and the town/temples are an hour or so apart. It was a convenient bus ride, though we went to the first stop, the JR Station, to ensure a seat, and we should have got a day pass to ease hopping on and off the bus at different places. The bus rises on a zig-zag through the most astonishing landscape: mountains and valleys and changing treescapes and vegetation and past lakes and waterfalls and hiking trails. A priority if we visit Japan again to do some of those walks.