Top things to do

Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Nikkō

Tōshō-gū

A World Heritage Site, Tōshō-gū is a brilliantly decorative shrine in a beautiful natural setting. Among its notable features is the dazzling 'Sunset Gate' Yōmei-mon.As the shrine gears up for its 400th anniversary,…
Top Choice Kaiseki in Nikkō

Gyōshintei

Splash out on deluxe spreads of vegetarian shōjin-ryōri, featuring local bean curd and vegetables served half a dozen delectable ways, or the kaiseki courses which include fish. The elegant tatami dining room overlo…
Top Choice Vegan in Nikkō

Meguri

A dedicated young couple dish up lovingly prepared tasty vegan Japanese meals in this former art shop with an amazing painting on its ceiling. Arrive as soon as they open if you want to secure lunch – it's a popular…
Top Choice Cafe in Nikkō

Nikkō Coffee

A century-old rice shop has been sensitively reinvented as this retro-chic cafe with a garden, where expertly made hand-dripped coffee is served alongside cakes and snack meals such as bacon, cheese and egg galette …
Shinto Shrine in Nikkō

Taiyūin-byō

Ieyasu's grandson Iemitsu (1604–51) is buried here, and although the shrine houses many of the same elements as Tōshō-gū (storehouses, drum tower, Chinese-style gates etc), the more intimate scale and setting in a c…
Buddhist Temple in Nikkō

Sanbutsu-dō

The main hall of the temple Rinnō-ji houses a trio of 8m gilded wooden Buddha statues: Amida Nyorai (a primal deity in the Mahayana Buddhist canon) flanked by Senjū (deity of mercy and compassion) and Batō (a horse-…
Gate in Nikkō

Yōmei-mon

Recently restored, the 'Sunset Gate' is grander than ever, its gold leaf and intricate, coloured carvings and paintings of flowers, dancing girls, mythical beasts and Chinese sages, all shiny and renewed. Worrying t…
Shinto Shrine in Nikkō

Futarasan-jinja

Set among cypress trees, this very atmospheric shrine was founded by Shōdō Shōnin; the current building dates from 1619, making it Nikkō's oldest. It's the protector shrine of Nikkō itself, dedicated to Nantai-san (…
Park in Nikkō

Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss

Escape the crowds along this wooded path lined with a collection of Jizō statues (the small stone effigies of the Buddhist protector of travellers and children). After passing the Shin-kyō bridge, follow the Daiya-g…
Shinto Shrine in Nikkō

Gōhonsha

The main shrine courtyard at Tōshō-gū includes the Honden (本殿; Main Hall) and Haiden (拝殿; Hall of Worship). Inside these halls are paintings of the 36 immortal poets of Kyoto, and a ceiling-painting pattern from the…