Nikko National Park: Experience diverse natural beauty and cultural heritage

Nikko National Park is located in a mountainous region northeast of Tokyo and spans three prefectures—Gunma, Tochigi and Fukushima—covering an area of 114, 908 hectares. Most of the park is comprised of mountains in the Nasu volcanic zone, and includes Mt. Shirane (2,578 m), Mt. Nantai (2,496) and Mt. Nasu (1,917 m). At the foot of these mountains are magnificent lakes, marshes, waterfalls, valleys and mixed forests, which are home to flourishing wildlife. Nikko City, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Shrines and Temples of Nikko, is nestled in these beautiful natural surroundings.

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Beautiful natural landscapes

The park is divided into two areas: the northern Nasu area, and the southern area, including Shiobara, Kinugawa, and Nikko. These areas encompass many peaks in the Nasu volcanic belt. Mt Shirane, at 2,578 meters, is the tallest mountain in the northern Kanto region, and majestic Mt. Nantai, historically a place of worship for Shugendo mountain ascetics, stands beside Lake Chuzenji. Visitors will find many striking natural landscapes in Nikko National Park, including lakes, waterfalls, marshes, mountains and hot springs. These landforms, created by ancient volcanic activity, cover the mountainsides and foothills of this region, resulting in a rich tapestry of topographical and geological features. Admire the park's stunning natural scenery at beautiful locations, including Senjogahara Marsh, Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Falls, and the Kinugawa River.

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Abundant vegetation and wildlife

The mountainous landscape of the park supports lush vegetation and an array of wildlife. Wide plateaus are home to wetland vegetation and alpine plants. Some of these are named after the mountains of Nikko, such as the Nikko kisuge, a yellow daylily that grows on the slopes of Mt. Akanagi at Kirfuri Highland. Visitors can see this star-like flower carpeting the plateau from late June to mid-July. The park's forests are made up of broadleaf trees, including beech, maple and mizunara oak, which turn vibrant colors in autumn, and the upper part of the mountains (from around 1,600 meters) are covered in conifers. Japanese macaques, deer, and Asiatic black bears are among the many mammals that call the park home. Birds, insects, amphibians, and reptiles also flourish here.

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Cultural heritage in nature

The natural environment and Japan's treasured cultural assets merge in the town of Nikko. Many historical sites are located amid rich forests, including Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan-jinja Shrine, and Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple—all part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikko. Around Lake Chuzenji, there are several embassy villas dating back to the Meiji period (1868–1912), when diplomats and dignitaries stationed in Tokyo would retreat to the lake area to escape the summer heat. Some of these buildings are open to the public and offer sweeping views across the lake.

Areas of Nikko