Sep. 18, Wed.
Nikko: World Heritage and Mountain of Prayer
With awe-inspiring shrines and temples ranked as a World Heritage Site, Nikko is a sacred place. Its history dates back 1,200 years, but it was not until the creation of Tosho-gu, a shrine dedicated to shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, that it began to flourish. By the early 19th century, Nikko grew popular with foreign visitors, and even Albert Einstein and Helen Keller stayed here at Japan's oldest resort hotel. This episode introduces the people who still maintain the glory of Nikko's traditions.
A Shinto shrine dedicated to the 1st shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who established the Edo Shogunate. Erected in 1617 in accordance with the will of Ieyasu, many of its buildings are now registered as National Treasures, including the Haiden, or prayer hall, and the Yomei-mon, a gate created by the most skilled craftsmen of the Edo Period. Over 5,000 pieces of sculpture adorn its precincts, and under the regime of the 3rd shogun, Iemitsu, the shrine underwent major alterations that remain to this day.
Water from Lake Chuzenji cascades down for 97meters, making the Kegon Falls one of Japan's 3 greatest waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy its spectacle from 2 observatories, one from the distance and the other up close.
Rising 2,486meters above sea level, Mt. Nantai is the highest peak of the Nikko mountain range. Every year from May 5 to October 25, visitors can climb this mountain from a gate beside a Shinto shrine, Futarasan-jinja, which lies by Lake Chuzenji. The trail to the top takes approximately 4 hours, and at the peak sits the inner shrine of Futarasan-jinja.