Nikko, Japan | Self Guided Walking Tour (off the beaten path and secret temples)

Click here for the link to the map for self guided walking tour https://embed.alpacamaps.com/journey/f05c3f2a-1239-11ea-96fe-067ec0c7e8f4/default

Here is the link to the Map for the self guided walking tour. MAP

Imaichi Station heading to Nikko JR station Japan

1- Imaichi JR Station

We stayed at Imaichi, one stop away from Nikko on the JR line. We would totally recommend this because #1 you get to see Nikko before the tourists from Tokyo arrive each day #2 it’s just outside the city, so you get a local experience. (To Book Train Travel in Japan Click Here)

2- JR Nikko Station (Tourist information centre)

We took the train one stop (4 minutes) and arrived at Nikko station. You can grab a map of the park here from the tourist office.

Park in Nikko Japan

3- Nice Park along the way

The walk from the station to the main sites took about 20 minutes, and it was really nice.

Shinkyo Bridge Nikko Japan

4- Nikko Bashi (For view of Shinkyo Bridge)

Our first stop was at Shinkyo Bridge 神橋. The current bridge is from 1636, but a bridge has been here for much longer. You can cross the bridge for 300 yen, but it is prettier to see from the adjacent bridge.

UNESCO Nikko National Park Japan.

5- Enter the UNESCO Nikko National Park

UNESCO Nikko National Park Japan.

6- Quiet Walk

Sanbutsudo Shrine Rinnoji Nikko Japan

7- Sanbutsudo Shrine

The first temple we arrived at in Nikko Park was Rinnoji. he decided to purchase tickets and enter the main shrine called Sanbutsudo (for this shrine only and tour it is 400yen). We got stuck in a Japanese tour, but it wasn’t too long, and this allowed us to see the three wooden, but golden clad figures: Amida, Senju-Kannon “Kannon with a thousand arms” and Bato-Kannon “Kannon with a horse head” . Being able to see these figures made the tour completely worth it!! No photography is allowed.

Omotesando St. Cedar Lined walking path Nikko Japan

8- Omotesando St. (Cedar Lined walking path)

From here we walked to Toshogu shrine.

5 story Pagoda at Toshogu Shrine Nikko Japan

9- Entrance to Toshogu (Red 5 story pagoda outside)

We decided to not go in because it was swarming with tourists and cost 1300 Yen.The approach was cedar lined and gorgeous!!!

Futarasan Shrine Nikko Japan

10- Futarasan Shrine (Sacred Tree of Matchmaking)

From there we walked to Futarasan Shrine (二荒山神社, Futarasan Jinja) . There was a sacred tree of match making, where we all offered our thanks for the perfect matches we had been blessed with <3.

Takino-o path Nikko Japan

11- Entrance to Takino-o Path

Just outside the western exit of Futarasan Shrine, and between that and Taiyuinbyo Lemitsu you will find the Takino-o Path. This pathway was the highlight of my time in Nikko. The ancient stone pathway is lined with cedar trees, and well off the tourist path. Buddhist priests who trained with ascetic practices (abstention from indulgences to an extreme degree) would make the pilgrimage to Takino-o Shrine, up until the beginning of the Meiji Era.

Gyoja-do Shrine Nikko Japan

12- Gyoja-do Shrine

Once you arrive at the top of the cedar pathway, you will find a little temple called Gyoja-do (the shrine for ascetics). From here you turn slightly right and climb down the hill a bit. This pathway will take you to Takino-o Inari Shrine.

Shiraito Waterfall Nikko Japan

13- Shiraito Waterfall

This was such an amazing find, with so few other people. There was a waterfall along the way called Shiraito Falls

Tokino-o Shrine Nikko Japan

14- Takino-o Shrine

Once you pass the waterfalls, you will see the entrance to Takino-o Shrine. The original shrine here was built in 820 AD. The stone torii gate way along the path has a small hole in the cross beam. If you are able to throw a stone through the hole, you will be blessed with good fortune (but you can only try three times to make the shot).

Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum Nikko Japan

15- Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum

After trekking up the cedar lined trail to Takino-o Shrine, we decided to visit Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum. This is where the 3rd Tokogawa Shogun is enshrined, the grandson of Ieyasu. Admission is 550 Yen. This shrine was set into the mountains and you had to climb many stairs to see it.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss Nikko Japan

16- Pathway for Kanmangafuchi Abyss

From here we walked along the river to the Kanmangafuchi Abyss, where the Jizo statues are (children spirit statues). The little red hats of the statues contrasted so sharp against the green valley and vivid blue waters.

Ghost Jizo at Kanmangafuchi Abyss Nikko Japan

17- Ghost Jizo

The Jizo are often called Bake Jizo or Ghost Jizo because if you count them walking down and then back up the valley, you will not get the same number twice. The Jizo children are known to disappear and reappear into the mist.

Here is a video we made about our time in NIKKO:

Here is a video we made about our time in NIKKO:

Here is a video we made about our time in NIKKO:

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