Nikko: Temples

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Nikko is a small city located about 140 km from Tokyo. It is an easy day trip, and well worth it since it contains some of the most impressive temples and shrines in Japan.

A small local restaurant features two beckoning cats, of the “greedy” and “happiness” varieties.
Beckoning Cats

An old-fashioned phone booth.
Phone Booth

The “Snake Bridge”. In the year 766 the monk Shodoshonin came here looking for a suitably holy place to establish a temple, but his path was blocked by this river. God sent two giant snakes who stretched their bodies across the gorge, allowing him to cross.
Snake Bridge

A statue of Shodoshonin.

The Rinnouji Temple, which Shodshonin founded. It seems to be undergoing reconstruction, but it features a beautiful strolling garden.
Rinnouji Temple

Strolling Garden

Strolling Garden

Strolling Garden

The Sanbutsudo Temple is the largest in the area and contains three huge gilded wooden Buddhas: The Thousand-Armed Kannon, the Amida Buddha, and the Horse-Headed Kannon. Unfortunately no photographs are allowed inside.


The levels of the 5-story pagoda represent the Five Elements of Buddhist tradition. From the bottom these are Earth, Water, Air/Wind, Fire, and Sky/Void (depending on how esoteric your brand of Buddhism is.)

All Entries For This Trip.