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Nikkō is a city located in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Located approximately 140 km north of Tokyo and approximately 35 km west of Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi, it is a popular destination for Japanese and international tourists, housing the mausoleum of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (Nikkō Tōshō-gū) and that of his grandson Iemitsu (Iemitsu-byō Taiyū-in), as well as the Futarasan Shrine, which dates to the year 767. There are also many famous hot springs (onsen) in the area. Elevations range from 200 to 2,000 m. The mountains west of the main city are part of Nikkō National Park and contain some of the country's most spectacular waterfalls and scenic trails.

Shōdō Shōnin established the temple of Rinnō-ji in 766, followed by the temple of Chūzen-ji in 784. The village of Nikkō developed around these temples. The shrine of Nikkō Tōshō-gū was completed in 1617 and became a major draw of visitors to the area during the Edo period. A number of new roads were built during this time to provide easier access to Nikkō from surrounding regions. Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Futarasan Shrine, and Rinnō-ji now form the UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikkō.

During the Meiji period Nikkō developed as a mountain resort, and became particularly popular among foreign visitors to Japan. The Japanese National Railways began service to Nikkō in 1890 with the Nikkō Line, followed by Tobu Railway in 1929 with its Nikkō Line.

Nikkō was incorporated as a town in 1889, part of Kamitsuga District. It was upgraded to city status in 1954 after merging with the neighboring village of Okorogawa. On March 20, 2006, the city of Nikkō merged with the city of Imaichi and the municipalities of Ashio, Fujihara, and Kuriyama to create what is officially the new city of Nikkō. The new city hall is located at the former Imaichi City Hall: the former Nikkō City Hall is now known as Nikkō City Hall-Nikkō Satellite Office.

October 2009

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