Step Back in Time to the Edo Period in Nikko

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.


Immersive Edo experiences

Edo Wonderland is a detailed representation of a traditional town in the Edo period. The whole family can dress as Edo-period townspeople, from samurai, merchants, and farmers, to ninjas. Experience ninja or samurai sword training, take a relaxing houseboat (yakatabune) cruise, grill senbei rice crackers, and try playing a shamisen, a popular 3-stringed instrument of the time. You can interact with the townsfolk, watch traditional entertainments and parades, and enjoy traditional snacks and substantial meals.
Explore the historical sites of Nikko City in a kimono for beautiful photographs that capture the atmosphere of a bygone era. There are several kimono rental stores, where you can dress up in women’s or men’s kimono or yukata (a lighter cotton version for summer). Accessories such as shoes and bags are usually included in the rental price.


Timeless festivals and events

The world of the Tokugawa shogunate comes alive during the Nikko Toshogu Shrine Annual Spring Grand Festival and Autumn Grand Festival in May and October. During each festival, around 1,000 people dressed as samurai and nobles reenact the relocation of the spirit of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu from Mt. Kuno in Shizuoka to Nikko Toshogu Shrine. A performance of yabusame horseback archery is held the day before the main procession, along the main approach to Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

Areas of Nikko