In a country that is 80 per cent mountains, calling one city a mountain paradise might seem like hubris, yet in the case of Nikko it’s tough to think of another term.
The city is blessed with beauty in abundance. It sits at the entrance to the Nikko National Park, one of the most celebrated and scenic parks in Japan.
Less than two hours from Tokyo and high above the summer heat, Nikko is a favorite place to flee in the burning summer — and a glorious winter wonderland in the colder months.
Nikko is home to Toshogu the most elaborately decorated shrine in Japan, and is the final resting place Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the nation’s builders and shapers, now reposing in his magnificent mausoleum.
And then there’s that park, host of yet more gorgeous shrines and temples, a lake, mountains, waterfalls and even its own volcano. And where’s there’s mountains, there’s hiking and camping and outdoor sports … and wildlife. Monkeys! Lots of them! And in winter they’ll walk the town with the tourists and locals while looking for food.
The best mountain site in Japan? We can debate that, but a must-visit idyll? No argument there.
The lavish shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu
Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil
One of Japan's most famous waterfall with a 97metre drop