Even more picturesque, though less lofty, than the Alps of Japan, are the Nikko mountains, enclosing the mausolea of the two greatest of the Tokugawa shoguns.
The highest of these are Shirane-san (7422 ft.), Nantai-san (8169 ft.), Nyoh- The Nikko zan (8100 ft.), and Omanago (7546 ft.).
Shirane (Nikko) 7422.
The only remaining active vent of the once highly volcanic Nikko district.
Thus, for instance, near Nikko in the upper valley of the Daiya-gawa, and in several other places in the neighboring mountains, a granite-porphyry appears with large, pale, flesh-colored crystals of orthoclase, dull triclinic feispar, quartz and hornblende.
The gorgeous decoration of the mausoleum of Iyeyasu at NikkO, and of the gateway of the Nishi Hongwan temple at KiOto, are the most striking instances of his handiwork or direction.
By 13, and represented the annual festival at the Nikko mausolea.
This new departure reached its climax in the Tokugawa mausolea of Yedo and NikkO, which are enriched by the possession of the most splendid applications of lacquer decoration the world has ever seen, nor is it likely that anything of comparable beauty and grandeur will be again produced in the same line.
Iyeyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty of shoguns, directed that his body should be interred at NikkO, a place of exceptional beauty, consecrated eight hundred years previously.
This meant an extension of the TOkaidO (under a different name) nearly a hundred miles northward, for the magnificent shrines erected then at NikkO and the periodical ceremonies thenceforth performed there demanded a correspondingly fine avenue of approach.
Nowhere is there a more solemn and impressive group of trees than that which surrounds the temples and tombs at Nikko where they rise to a height of ioo to 125 ft.; it is a stately tree with no rival except in the sequoias of California."
The original TOkaidO was taken for model, and Yedo and Nikko were joined by a highway flanked by rows of cryptomeria.