Kanto

Nikko National Park

Recommended
Nikko National Park
The Essential
Recommended
Two hours by train to the north of Tokyo, the Nikko National Park region, with its mountains, rivers and lakes, embodies all the deities of Buddhism and Shintoism combined; torii and pagodas co-exist in perfect harmony. When the monk Shodo Shonin found the site evocative of the mythical residence of Kannon (goddess of mercy) there in the 8C, many shrines and temples sprung up. Since this pure and sacred land abounds in gods, it was here that the Tosho-gu, the dazzling mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first of the shoguns, was erected in the 17C. In the shadow of the imposing Nantai volcano, the city of Nikko gleamed gold in its funereal finery and grew thanks to small towns developing around religious buildings, amid cedars and pines.
Going up the Daiya River past the sacred Shin-kyo bridge, a winding mountain road leads to the great Lake Chuzenji and charming Okunikko region. It has a profusion of magnificent landscapes of moors, lakes, waterfalls, streams and hot springs. From the late 19C, the region became a popular with those wanting to escape the heat of the Tokyo summer and keen to come and admire the spectacular colours of nature in each season. 

Must see

Michelin's recommendations for Nikko National Park

Tosho-gu Shrine Tosho-gu Shrine
Tosho-gu Shrine
Nikko
1:00
Yomei-mon Gate at Tosho-gu Yomei-mon Gate at Tosho-gu
Yomei-mon Gate at Tosho-gu
Nikko
1:00
Taiyu-in Taiyu-in
Taiyu-in
Nikko
0:30
Nikko-zan Rinno-ji Temple Nikko-zan Rinno-ji Temple
Nikko-zan Rinno-ji Temple
Nikko
0:30
Hike on the Senjogahara Marshland Hike on the Senjogahara Marshland
Hike on the Senjogahara Marshland
Nikko
Kanman-ga-Fuchi Walk Kanman-ga-Fuchi Walk
Kanman-ga-Fuchi Walk
Nikko

Our reports

Nikko, an exceptional and sacred place

In 1999, the whole world paid tribute to the baroque splendour of the shrines and temples of Nikko that gleam among the giant cedars, when the complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These architectural masterpieces are tightly bound up with the history of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled from the 17C to the 19C.

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Okunikko’s natural assets

In the upper reaches of the sacred city, the mountainous region of Okunikko is stunning in every season. While the cedars planted in the late 17C serve as a backdrop for the temples and shrines down in the valley, at altitude the lakes, moors and rivers surrounding Lake Chuzenji complement the perfectly formed cone of the Nantai volcano to create a fabulous landscape.

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Lake Chuzenji, a holiday resort for Westerners

When the country opened up to foreigners in the late 19C, the cool summer weather and high altitude of Lake Chuzenji (1 200m) quickly won the hearts of Western tourists, diplomats and writers. The resort offered an escape from the stifling heat of Tokyo, without visitors having to travel too far.

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