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Shinkyo Bridge in Nikko

The beautiful red bridge

Shinkyo Bridge is located in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. Maintained by the Nikko Futarasan Shrine, the bridge is registered as a part of the Shrines and Temples of Nikko and listed as a World Cultural Heritage site.

This beautiful red bridge leads to the world famous Nikko Toshogu Shrine, a shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Below the bridge lies the Daiya River flowing with its amazingly clear and beautiful water.

According to legend, when Shodo Shonin opened up Nikko in the late Nara period, two snakes appeared by King Jinjya and they became the bridge. The current vermilion colour of the bridge came about when Nikko Toshogu Shrine underwent some extensive repairs and refurbishment in 1636. Unfortunately, that bridge was swept away as a result of flooding in 1902. It was rebuilt two years later in 1904 and is considered to be one of Japan's 'Three Major Strange Bridges.'

Hongu Shrine, an shrine associated with Nikko Futarasan Shrine, lies nearby. Compared to the other shrines, the precinct is smaller but it is very old and it is worth having a look.

Shinkyo Bride is about a 25-minute walk from Nikko Station. If you take the bus, the trip time cuts down to about 5 minutes or so. Bus tickets that include access to the Nikko Toshogu Shrine are available. In any case, there are plenty of souvenir stores and restaurants along the way, giving anyone interested plenty of opportunities to enjoy some shopping and eating.

Autumn is the best season to see the red maples in Nikko which is when you will find many more tourists visiting. The scenery with the red maples is quite incredible.

Shinkyo Bridge really is a beautiful bridge and any trip to Nikko would be incomplete without a visit to this most interesting of 'strange bridges.'

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