The “Shrines and Temples of Nikko”, a UNESCO world heritage site, consist of 103 religious buildings* within two Shinto shrines (the Toshogu and the Futarasan-jinja) and a Buddhist temple (the Rinnoji) as well as extensive surroundings.
The Toshogu is where the great Shogun, Ieyasu Tokugawa, the most renowned samurai of all time, is enshrined. It is famous for sumptuous carvings such as the “Sleeping Cat” and the “Three Monkeys” with the “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil” poses.
The Futarasan-jinja, with a history stretching back 1200 years, is a spiritual place believed to be full of sacred energy, and attracts many visitors who pray for good luck and success in love.
The majestic Rinnoji preserves a beautiful range of classical architectural styles spanning a number of generations.
*Some buildings may be under renovation.
Tochigi Prefecture is one of the finest Onsen paradises in Japan, having approximately 630 Onsen each with its own source of spring water. Onsen-kyo (hot spring towns) such as Kinugawa, Nasu and Shiobara attract more visitors than any other Onsen in Japan. Many people return throughout the year to experience these Onsen-kyo in seasonal settings such as the fresh green foliage of spring and the autumnal colours later in the year. Tochigi is the closest destination from Tokyo to enjoy “Yukimi Onsen”, the open-air bathing surrounded by snow. There are a wide variety of Onsen from the nationally well-known to smaller historic hidden gems, and others with renowned health benefits of their particular thermal spring water. Onsen hopping is a widely popular way to experience the diverse characteristics of each. Local accommodation choices are plentiful from five-star hotels to local family-operated inns.
Tochigi’s magnificent natural areas offer visitors an incredible range of outdoor activities. Hiking on the Senjogahara Marshlands, a Ramsar-registered wetland, thrilling white-water rafting and canyoning are just some of the many popular activities available. Many climbers enjoy the panoramic views and plumes of white volcanic smoke emitting from the top of Mt. Chausu-dake. The foot of the mountain is known as the “Royal Resort Nasu” and is the location of an imperial villa. The region is well-known for its abundant nature right on the outskirts of Tokyo. Not to be missed are Kegon Waterfalls, one of the three finest waterfalls in Japan, and Lake Chuzenji famed for its picturesque scenery when autumn colours reflect on the surface of the lake.
You will be enchanted by the delicious local cuisine benefiting from the region’s rich farmland and clear spring water. Tochigi is known for the nation’s largest crops of strawberries, along with other local specialties such as Tochigi Wagyu Beef, dairy products and locally-brewed Sake. Strawberry picking is a popular activity during the winter and spring in strawberry farms across the prefecture. Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi, is known as “the Town of Gyoza”. Sano, a city in the south of the prefecture, is a mouth-watering location for ramen lovers. You will see tourists making long queues for gyoza and ramen in these cities on weekends. Local delicacies can be found throughout Tochigi. A boundless gastronomic pleasure is waiting for you.