Every year, on May 18, the Grand Festival re-stages the spectacular burial of Ieyasu at Tōshō-gū, with a cast of over one thousand costumed priests and warriors taking part in a colourful procession through the shrine grounds, topped off with horseback archery. It’s well worth attending, as is its smaller-scale cousin (also called the Grand Festival) on October 17, which doesn’t have the archery and only lasts half a day, and the “Light Up Nikkō” event (end of Oct, beginning of Nov), during which the major temple buildings are illuminated at night to great effect.

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