During this period of time that cherry blossom lets us feel arrival of spring, the Nikko-Kinugawa area offers a variety of unique scenery and events. For example, the cherry trees illuminated in nighttime produce fantastic atmosphere that you cannot experience in daytime. Alpine plants also bear pretty little flowers from spring to early summer and fresh green leaves cover the World Heritages in the area. In particular, Nikko Toshogu Shrine holds a once-in-50-year grand festival called yonhyakunen-shikinentaisai to commemorate, for this year, the 400th anniversary of the death of Tokugawa Ieyasu. So, this year will be a special year for temples and shrines in the Nikko area, and how can you miss it?
Enjoy many events such as yosakoi (Kochi-style) dancing parade and a great lottery event that lucky people can win luxurious prizes, as well as shows on the stage including Japanese calligraphy performance and Japanese harp playing.
Visitors can see the different and fantastical aspect that cherry blossom shows only in nighttime, while relishing Japanese confectionery and beverage in the special seats set beneath cherry trees for blossom viewing. In addition, special performance such as Japanese instrument playing and Japanese classic dance entertains visitors on Saturdays.
A walking tour to visit the historic towns around temples and shrines in the World-Heritage Nikko area and to view blossom of the cherry tree planted more than 200 years ago. Special-edition gourmet meals inspired by cherry blossom are also available.
This festival that started more than 1,200 years ago lets people in Nikko know that spring has come to the town. 11 hanayatais (floats) decorated with spring flowers parade in the town to celebrate coming of spring. Visitors can experience the rope tagging of some floats.
Nikko National Park consists of many sightseeing spots, such as Chuzenji Lake, Senjogahara with beautiful flowers of alpine plants such as Japanese primroses, and Ryuou Valley, a magnificent spectacle that looks like a giant dragon wriggling on the ground. Visitors can enjoy walking on the clean path or can experience and feel the great nature by participating in water activities to be available in the season.
Ryuou Valley was formed by erosion of volcanic rocks that had been belched out from a submarine volcano 22 million years ago. In the area, middle of March to early June is the best season to view the bloom of Asian skunk cabbages, wild cherry trees, togokumitsubatsutsuji (Rhododendron wadanum) and rabbitear irises.
Senjogahara is a 400ha-square high moor covering the highland at 1,400m above sea level. From middle of June to early August is the best season to view the bloom of alpine plants such as blue honeysuckles, cotton sedges, Japanese azalea and willow leaf meadowsweets.
In the west edge of Chuzenji Lake that is about 25km around, a beach called Senjugahama stretches from south to north over 2km. Under the greenery environment consisting of the wood of 200-year-old Mongolian oaks and Japanese elms, visitors can view the cluster of Japanese primroses in early summer.
Participants can enjoy the 40-minutes river boat tour, while viewing the magnificent beauty of the valley in which towering great rocks along the river is combined with the great nature. Seasonal transition represented by cherry blossom or early summer fresh green adds colors to the boat tour.
The temples and shrines in Nikko are the World Heritages representing Japan. In particular, Nikko Toshogu Shrine, a shrine to sacred to the memory of Tokugawa Ieyasu, holds many events to commemorate, for this year, the 400th anniversary of the death of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Why not visit the shrine in this anniversary year to fell the greatness of Tokugawa Ieyasu who dreamed to bring peace to the country and made the dream come true?
The biggest event of Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Among many featured events, you should not miss the yabusame ritual in which you can see archers’ art of piloting the horse and shooting arrows on horseback, as well as the procession called the Hyakumonozoroe Sennin Gyoretsu that some 1,000 men dressed as samurai warriors march to reproduces the scene of Ieyasu’s grave being transferred from distant Mount Kunousan in Shizuoka Prefecture to Nikko.
During this festival to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Tokugawa Ieyasu, 11 communities in the city build Japanese traditional floats and play music to devote to the spirit of Ieyasu. Karete performance is also devoted.
The new Homotsu-kan museum opened on March 13, 2015. The museum exhibits many interesting items such as the armor worn by Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Join the strawberry picking and, on the site, relish “Tochiotome,” Tochigi-produced strawberries distinguished for its bright red color, large-size, and perfect taste balance between sweetness and sourness. From winter to spring, visitor can enjoy the taste of the fruit of the season as many as possible.
Eat Tochigi’s famous strawberry “Tochiotome” as many as you like in 30 minutes. Visitors can relish sweet strawberries grown with organic fertilizer in the selected soil culture.
You can eat Tochigi-produced strawberries such as “Tochiotome” and “Benihoppe” with free condensed milk as many as you can in 30 minutes. The strawberries grown with reduced agricultural chemicals are health-friendly.