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Lines of moss-covered Jizo Buddhas sporting knitted crimson caps and bibs; stone lanterns backed by towering Japanese cedars; a red-lacquer bridge framed by snowy white mountains . . . . Nikkō is like a Japanese scroll painting brought to life. The oldest monuments in the town date from 766AD, but the place really sprang to life in the 1600s after the great Shogun who first unified Japan was enshrined here, in a gaudily decorated complex under a forest of giant cypress trees. Don’t miss the 8th-century Futarason shrine, with its burnished copper pagoda roof, or the famous See-Hear-Speak-No-Evil monkeys in the sumptuously carved Toshogu complex itself.
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