Nikko is a sacred city founded in the 8th Century that has been the centre of Shinto and Buddhist worship for centuries, located in the hills 50 miles to the north of Tokyo. The city is a tranquil place with many of Japan’s most important shrines protected by UNESCO, carved wooden bridges, gardens with fishponds and is surrounded by delightful cedar woods. The most famous shrine in Nikko is the intricate Toshogu Shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is an impressive building, elaborately decorated in gold with dozens of stone lanterns perfectly aligned to frame the grand shrine. A visit to Nikko can be taken as a day trip from Tokyo, or extended with an exploration of the National Park just beyond the city. The National Park offers spectacular scenery of mountainous landscapes, lakes and waterfalls, hot springs and hiking trails.