Shrines and Temples of Nikko (1999)
Japan

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The shrines and temples of Nikko, together with their natural surroundings, have for centuries been a sacred site known for its architectural and decorative masterpieces. They are closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns. 

Nikko is located in the Tochigi Prefecture, directly north of Tokyo, along Japan's "Romantic Road". 

Japan Prefecture Map. Tochigi is No. 39, just north of Tokyo.

  • Japan Prefecture Map. Tochigi is No. 39, just north of Tokyo. 
  • Japan 2001. Souvenir sheet. Japan World Heritage at Nikko. Containing 8 single stamps of various designs and to se-tenant stamps in a composite design. All stamps are shown below in close-ups. 

Japan 2001. Souvenir sheet. Japan World Heritage at Nikko. Containing 8 single stamps of various designs and to se-tenant stamps in a composite design.

The Nikko shrines and temples are a reflection of architectural and artistic genius; this aspect is reinforced by the harmonious integration of the buildings in a forest and a natural site laid out by man. 

Japan 2001. Nikko. Shinkyo Bridge. Japan 2001. Nikko. Futarasan Shrine. Japan 2001. Nikko. Karamon Gate. Japan 2001. Nikko. "Kirin".
Japan 2001. Nikko. Peacock. Japan 2001. Nikko. Sleeping Cat. Japan 2001. Nikko. Wind God. Japan 2001. Nikko. Thunder God.

Japan 2001. Nikko. Rinnoji Temple.

Nikko is a small city at the entrance to Nikko National Park. It is most famous for the Toshogu, Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine complex and mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. 

Nikko has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries. 

  • Japan 2001. Rinnoji Temple. 

Nikko is a perfect illustration of the architectural style of the Edo period as applied to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. 

The Gongen-zukuri style of the two mausoleums, the Tshgu and the Taiy-in Reiby, reached the peak of its expression in Nikko, and was later to exert a decisive influence. The ingenuity and creativity of its architects and decorators are revealed in an outstanding and distinguished manner. 

  • United Nations (Vienna) 2001. Nikko. Scan by courtesy of Jean-Michel (France). 

United Nations (Vienna) 2001. Nikko.

The Nikko shrines and temples, together with their environment, are an outstanding example of a traditional Japanese religious centre, associated with the Shinto perception of the relationship of man with nature, in which mountains and forests have a sacred meaning and are objects of veneration, in a religious practice that is still very much alive today.

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Japan (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Japan for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus
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