Japan: Japanese countryside, Nikko

Nikkō is a city in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Approximately 140 km north of Tokyo and 35 km west of Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi Prefecture, it is a popular destination for Japanese and international tourists. Attractions include the mausoleum of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (Nikkō Tōshō-gū) and that of his grandson Iemitsu (Iemitsu-byō Taiyū-in), and the Futarasan Shrine, which dates to the year 767. There are also many famous hot springs (onsen) in the area. Elevations range from 200 to 2,000 m. The mountains west of the main city are part of Nikkō National Park and contain some of the country's most spectacular waterfalls and scenic trails.
As of January 1, 2008, the city has an estimated population of 92,181.

The post-merger city of Nikkō covers a large area (1,449.87 km²) of rural northwestern Tochigi. It is the third-largest city (by area) in Japan, behind Takayama and Hamamatsu.
Lake Chūzenji and the Kegon Falls lie in Nikkō, as does the Nikko Botanical Garden. The city's many mountains and waterfalls have made it an important source of hydroelectric power. The area has also been used for mining copper, aluminum and concrete.

The weather in Nikkō is fairly similar to that of Hokkaidō even though it is much closer to Tokyo than Hokkaidō. The elevation of Nikkō plays an important role in this fact. It will usually get cooler as one ascends the mountain. The average temperature of Nikkō is around 7°C (44°F) with the warmest months reaching only about 22°C (72°F) and the coldest reaching down to about -8°C (17°F).

Nikko experiences a humid continental and hemiboreal climate with cold, snowy winters and predominantly mild, very wet summers. Nikko is situated at an altitude of 1298m above sea level.

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