With over 1,250 years of history, faith, and culture, Nikko has long been revered as a place of faith and natural beauty. Nikko is strongly associated with the Edo period (1603–1876) when Nikko Toshogu Shrine was built as a mausoleum following the death of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1616. The shrine was later expanded by his grandson Tokugawa Iemitsu and became the grand complex we see today, with intricate carvings and colorful paintings.
In the footsteps of the samurai
Follow in the footsteps of daimyo and samurai starting at the Nikko Suginamiki Kaido. This ancient road is part of the traditional route from the capital, Edo (modern-day Tokyo), and Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Lined with around 12,500 cedar trees, the Nikko Suginamiki Kaido is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest avenue of cedar trees in the world. Venture off the path to explore Suginamiki Koen Park along the way, to see a traditional water mill that was used in the production of incense sticks. Nikko Toshogu Shrine is one of the sites that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Shrines and Temples of Nikko, along with Nikkosan Rinnoji Temple and Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine.
At the end of the Edo period, as Japan opened to foreign trade and influence, inns and hotels opened to cater to international visitors. Kanaya Hotel History House is a former samurai residence that catered to prominent foreigners who visited the area. The Kanaya Cottage Inn opened to guests in 1873. The inn has been preserved as a museum.