Tag: World Heritage Sites

Nikko: Toshogu Shrine and more

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The small town of Nikko in Tochigi prefecture, a few hours north of Tokyo, is home to the lavishly-decorated Toshogu Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the once-most powerful man in feudal Japan: Tokugawa Ieyasu. In addition, the surrounding area encompassing Nikko National Park is popular for spectacular autumn scenery in October.

Set in a serene cedar forest around 100 kilometers north of metropolitan Tokyo, Toshogu was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999 along with neighboring Rinnoji Temple and Futarasan Shrine.


Kyoto‘s Must-see World Heritage Sites

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Sixty nine years ago, Kyoto was identified by the United States as one of four A-bomb targets, along with Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Kokura (part of present-day Kitakyushu). The then US Secretary of War Henry Stimson lobbied for the removal of Kyoto from the list, citing the city’s immense cultural significance. He also had a personal connection to the city, having reportedly been to Kyoto on honeymoon two decades prior. Kyoto was removed from the potential targets and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward to the present day, the former imperial capital is home to roughly 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Kyoto and neighboring Otsu and Uji cities host a high concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, collectively inscribed on the heritage list as the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”. On a trip to Kyoto, it’s almost a given that an average visitor will check out at least one of these World Heritage Sites. After four visits to Kyoto, I only managed to see 7 out of 17 of these sites so far.


World Heritage Sites

Fujisan, Japan

Yosemite National Park is a national park in eastern central California known for its grand waterfalls, impressive granite cliffs, towering sequoias, and vast wilderness. The bulk of visitors to Yosemite converge on Yosemite Valley, an 18 km2 glacier-carved valley where most of the park facilities and natural landmarks are located. On our visit to Yosemite last February 2013, we stopped at Tunnel View, a viewpoint at the end of Wawona Tunnel, where three of Yosemite’s prominent landmarks can be seen in one frame: El Capitan granite cliff on the left, Bridalveil Falls on the right, and Half Dome straight ahead in the center.