The city of Nikko is one of the c o u n t r y ’s m o s t p o p u l a r sightseeing destinations. There are many spots where the visitors can experience Japan’s historyand culture, such as the buildings designated as World Heritage sites by UNESCO, the majestic nature, the hot springs and the regional festivals. The first place to visit is the Sannai area and the World Heritage sites.“Shrines and Temples of Nikko, designated as a World Heritage Site, encompasses renowned Japanese structures that include Nikko ToshoguShrine, Nikko Rinno-ji Temple and Futarasan Shrine.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine was built to worship Tokugawa Ieyasu as a god. Ieyasu was the founder and the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1868) that lasted more than 260 years, a long span of time that is rather exceptional in world history. The shiny, colorful Yomeimon Gate of Nikko Toshogu, carved with as many as 508 delicate statues, is of high artistic value and designated as a national treasure. Besides Yomeimon Gate, the Sannai area of Nikko embraces as many as 103 historical structures or buildings including nine listed as National Treasures and 94 as Important Cultural Properties. One of the attractions of Nikko is its beautiful natural environment in a perfect harmony with the historical buildings and structures. The year 2015 will mark the quadricentennial of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s death. The city is now preparing a variety of events to celebrate this commemorative year. Although the renovation of Yomeimon Gate will start in April in 2013, the Shunki Reitaisai (grand spring festival), the largest-scale annual festival of Nikko Toshogu, will take place on May 17 and 18. The highlight of this festival is Hyakumono Zoroe Sennin Gyoretsu (procession of men dressed as samurai) on the 18th. More than 1,200participants in gorgeous costumes such as samurais in armor walk a distance of around 1 km. One word to sum up this event: spectacular! The local food specialties are soba and yuba. Handmade soba buckwheat noodles have been passed down for generations as a part of the traditional
Nikko Soba Festival is organized every year and famous soba restaurants from the whole nation come to present their new soba. In 2012, around 100,000 visitors came to experience this event. Yuba is one of the soy bean products. It is a curd or film which forms over the surface of boiling soy milk.
Yuba is traditional, familiar food in Nikko because of its Buddhist temples, where reside monks and religious trainees, who are required to be vegetarians. These days yuba has become popular as a healthy and versatile food that can be used in many dishes including yuba soba, fresh yuba sashimi and yuba manju (buns). Yuba and soba are typical Japanese foods. You can fully enjoy Japanese food while visiting Nikko.
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