Shrines and Temples of Nikko
Nikko is home to the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site, which contains the most spectacular architecture and craftsmanship in all Japan. The World Heritage Site comprises:
- Rinnoji Temple: The oldest structure in Nikko, built in the 8th century by Shodo Shonin, the wandering Buddhist monk who founded Nikko. Houses three spectacular gold-plated statues of Buddhist divinities.
- Toshogu Shrine: Regarded as the most majestic building in the country, Toshogu Shrine is dedicated to Ieyasu Tokugawa, the 17th-century Shogun who united all of Japan.
- Futarasan Shrine: Also founded by Shodo Shonin, Futarasan Shrine is devoted to the Shinto gods of nearby Mt. Nantai, Mt. Nyoho, and Mt. Taro.
- Shinkyo Bridge: The "sacred bridge" that spans the Daiya river between central Nikko and the World Heritage Site. Once reserved exclusively for the imperial court and their messengers, the bridge is now open to the public.