Located in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, is the area's representative World Heritage Site, Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Listed as part of the Temples and Shrines of Nikko are 103 architectural structures including Hongu Shrine, registered as one part of the shrine of Nikko Futarasan.
Hongu Shrine is believed to have been established during the Nara Period (710-794) and is considered to be one of the oldest shrines in Nikko. These days, it is known as an auxiliary shrine of Nikko Futarasan Shrine, but it is actually the origin of the Futarasan Shrine.
Entering through its stone torii gate, you will see a vermilion Haiden worship hall. Further on is the Honden main hall, itself registered as an Important Cultural Property. The atmosphere here is very calm and it is easy to sense the deep history of the shrine.
Just below the main hall is a rock known as the Good Luck Stone. After striking the stone with a wooden fortune stick, you then move the stone to the right (for good fortune in financial matters) or to the left (for good fortune with health and marriage).
Along with the stone are some other sights worth seeing such as the Kobu cedar and the Good Fortune Bamboo. If you touch the cedar, it is believed that good luck will come to you. For the hungry, visitors will also find a cafe nearby known as Hongu Cafe. While now renovated, the cafe is said to be around 300 years old.
The shrine is located close to Shinkyo Bridge. There is a pretty good view of both the bridge and Daiya River which is a very clean river. One of many places to visit in Nikko, a trip to Hongu Shrine is even better if you relax and take your time to stroll around its grounds.
Find out more about Nikko Toshogu Shrine.
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