Today we traveled to the town of Nikko, which is at the entrance of the Nikko National Park. This park is best known for the elaborately decorated Toshogu Shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The Toshogu Shrine was built in the 1600s and is the center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship. Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in 1543 and was the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. Ieyasu ruled from 1600 until his death in 1616.
Nikko is located in the mountains of the Tochigi Prefecture and is 140 km north of Tokyo. The name Nikko literally means “sunshine” which was very fitting because the weather was absolutely beautiful today. There is a Japanese quote that says, “Never say ‘kekko’ until you have seen Nikko.” Kekko is the Japanese word for beautiful.I thought that Nikko was a great change of pace for everyone. We have spent most of our time in large cities so it was nice to spend some time outside and enjoy the fresh air. I personally enjoyed being surrounded by the trees and thought that all of the streams were very peaceful. I was amazed at how elaborately the shrines were decorated and it was an interesting experience to remove our shoes every time we entered a shrine. I had a wonderful time in Nikko, and I now can understand why many people say it is such a beautiful place.