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, being a display of wealth and grandeur by the most powerfull family in Japan. A perfect illustration of the architectural Gongen-zukuri style of the Edo period, the two mausoleums are lavishly decorated with gold leaves, red lacquerwork, relief carvings, and painting, setting them apart from the minimalist style generally characteristic of Japanese art. The Nikko shrines and temples, nested in a beautiful forest, are a great 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. The shrines and temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nikko is an easy day trip from Tokyo.
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