- Type: Religious Sights
NileGuide Expert tip:
Go for the autumn colors if you can, usually around the end of October. Though the crowds will be bigger, the scenery will be unforgettable
Explore the scenic shrines and countryside of the Nikko National Park on a day trip from Tokyo. Nikko has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for centuries, and is famous for its shrines, mountain landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails.
You'll also visit Nikko, a small city at the entrance to the national park. The highlight here is the world-famous Toshogu Shrine, the mausoleum of the first Tokugawa Shogun. It's a gorgeous complex of colorful structures featuring the superb craftsmanship of Japan's 17th-century artisans. Look out for the famous carving of the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil monkeys.
You'll then enjoy a delightful drive up the zigzagging Irohazaka driveway up the mountains, negotiating 20 hairpin curves. After a Japanese lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit beautiful Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenjiko) in Nikko National Park, at the foot of the sacred volcano Mount Nantai. The lake was formed by lava flows from the now-extinct volcano several thousand years ago.
After viewing the 351-foot (100-meter) Kegon Waterfall, one of the three finest falls in Japan, you'll follow the Irohazaka zigzag driveway back down the mountains, following a different route with 28 bends.
Nikko and the area around Lake Chuzenji are well known for their beautiful fall foliage (koyo). The best times to view the rust-colored leaves is usually mid-October for Lake Chuzenji and early to mid-November for central Nikko.
- © Viator2013
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