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Tochigi Prefecture

Tochigi Prefecture in Kanto DistrictTochigi PrefectureTochigi Prefecture is located at the north part of Kanto region, and the shape on the map is roughly oval.

The prefectural capital is Utsunomiya city, which is located at the just south of the central point of the prefecture.

The west part of the prefecture is mountainous, and the east part is hilly. So the central area is flatland and Utsunomiya and some cities are there.
Tohoku Shinkansen and expressway run there from north to south.

Nikko The most popular sightseeing area is Nikko, and the city is located about 35 km northwest of Utsunomiya and at the foot of the western mountains.

In the 8th century, Futarasan shrine and Rinnoji temple were built here, then here had been the main sacred land of east Japan since that.

And in the 17th century, Nikko Toshogu shrine was built, and Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of Edo government, was enshrined as a god here.
Nikko had become the most important place in east Japan.

In 1999, these one temple and two shrines were designated as a World Heritage site.

There is no airport in Tochigi Prefecture. But the railroads are convenient.
By Tohoku-Shinkansen, we can reach Utsunomiya within an hour from Tokyo.
To Nikko or Kinugawa, by the limited express of Tobu Railway, we can reach there within 2 hours from Asakusa or Shinjuku.

To Nikko by car, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes using Tohoku Expressway and Nikko-Utsunomiya Road from Tokyo. (About 130 km)

Tochigi Visitors Guide in English (pdf)
Nikko Perfect Guide : Nikko Tourist Association official website




The climate in Nikko
Average value 1981-2010 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Highest Temperature (deg C) -0.4 0.0 3.6 10.0 14.8 17.7 21.6 22.6 18.6 13.2 8.2 2.9
Lowest Temperature (deg C) -8.1 -8.1 -5.1 0.1 5.1 10.1 14.4 15.3 11.6 5.1 -0.2 -5.0
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 52 59 109 158 175 221 277 394 363 202 108 51

Tourist spots in Tochigi Prefecture

Map around Nikko

Around Nikko

Nikko Toshogu shrine /1/
Futarasan shrine /2/
Rinnoji temple /3/
Shinkyou bridge /4/
Cedar Avenue of Nikko /5/
Iroha-zaka sloping roads /6/
Kegon Falls /7/
Lake Chuzenji /8/
Senjogahara marsh /9/
Lake Yunoko /10/
Kirifuri highland /11/

Nikko Edo-mura (Edo Wonderland) /21/
Tobu World Square /22/
Kinugawa hot spring resort /23/
Ryuokyo gorge /24/
Kawaji hot spring resort /25/
Yunishigawa hot spring resort /26/


Tochigi map

Other spots in Tochigi Prefecture

Ooyaji temple /31/
Tochigi city /32/
Ashikaga /33/
Ashio Copper Mine /34/
Nasu highland /35/
Shiobara hot spring resort /36/

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

Main events in Tochigi Prefecture

Yayoi FestivalYayoi Festival (April 13-17th)

It is the annual festival of Futarasan shrine in Nikko
More than a dozen floats decorated with beautiful pink flowers march along to festival music throughout the town.
In the last day, they gather in the precincts of the shrine, then all of them parade around the main shrine.
A float is the representative of each district. And the order of floats and conventions of the operation had been arranged strictly. So if the men of a float has made a little mistake, they have gotten into a big trouble between the districts.

Thousand Samurai ParadeThousand Samurai Parade (May 18th, October 17th)

It is the parade held on the main approach of Nikko Toshogu shrine and Rinnoji temple in spring and autumn.
More than thousand people parade about 1 km. They put on historical costumes. Many of them wear armor, some of them have pikes, and some of them sit astride horses.
At the end of the line, mikoshi (portable shrines) also parade.

Naki-zumoSumo of Crying Babies (First Sunday after September 19th)

It is the event held in Ikiko shrine in Kanuma city. In Japanese, it is called "Naki-zumo". This event has been held since the 1860s.
Of course, babies aren't sumo wrestles. A man like sumo wrestler holds a baby in his arm, and two babies face each other.
The two men rock the babies. And the baby who has cried first wins.
But both babies are winners. "Crying baby grows up healthy" is one of the well-known Japanese proverbs. People pray for all babies' healthy growth.

Local foods and products in Tochigi Prefecture

Gyoza in UtsunomiyaGyoza in Utsunomiya

Gyoza is a kind of dumpling stuffed with minced pork and vegitables. Originally, it is one of Chinese foods, and is called "jiaozi" in Chinese.
In Japan, it has been popular since the cooks who had learned in Manchuria (current northeastern China) came back to Japan and served after World War II.
Utsunomiya has always been one of the cities that a citizen buys the most gyoza in Japan a year. So since the 1990s, Utsunomiya has promoted its gyoza as part of efforts to develop the city.
Now Utsunomiya-gyoza is well-known throughout the country.

Yuba in NikkoYuba in Nikko

Yuba is a Japanese and Chinese food known as "tofu skin" or "dried bean curd". It is made by boiling soy milk and collecting the film or skin of protein on the liquid surfice.
In Japan it is the specialty of Nikko and Kyoto.
Kyoto-yuba is thin, but Nikko-yuba is thick. Because, Nikko-yuba is made by rolling or bundling the thin film.
Originally yuba had been the food for ascetic training monk in the mountains since ancient times.
It is said that ordinary people began to eat from the late 19th century.

KanpyoKanpyo

It is one of Japanese foods, and is dried shavings of calabash, a type of gourd.
It is made by peeling the calabash, shaving it like a long strip with a plane and drying it.
The work of shaving is done before daylight in midsummer and the strips are dried in strong summer sunshine.
Over 80 percent of kanpyo in Japan is produced in Tochigi Prefecture.
It is commonly used as one of ingredients of sushi roll.

Mashiko PotteryMashiko Pottery

It is the pottery produced in Mashiko town located at the southwest part of Tochigi Prefecture. It is massive pottery.
It is said that the production was started around the mid-19th century.
First pots and water jars had been made. But a ceramic artist began to create a ceramic jar with rid for tea ceremony and the other craftworks since the 1930s.
Since that Mashiko pottery has been famous in Japan. Additionally Bernard Leach (1887-1979, a British potter) introduced it to Europe.


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