Futarasan-jinja Shrine was originally established on the summit of Mt. Nantai by the monk and mountain ascetic Shodo Shonin (735–817) in 782. Originally, Mt. Nantai was called Mt. Futara, and the characters for “futara” can be read as “niko.” Eventually “niko” became “nikko” giving this region its name. Futarasan-jinja’s grounds cover over 3,400 hectares in Nikko—including Chugushi Shrine, located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji; a small shrine on top of Mt. Nantai; Kegon Falls; Iroha road; and the mountains of Nikko National Park.
The main buildings of Futarasan-jinja are located to the west of Toshogu Shrine and are surrounded by many sacred trees. One auspicious tree is said to bring luck in finding a marriage partner; a pair that are joined at the base are thought to bestow marital happiness; and another set of three trees bound at the roots is thought to grant a happy home life. The Shrine Garden contains several historically important shrine buildings as well as allowing for a closer inspection of the worship hall (haiden) and the main hall (honden), which were both built in 1619. Within the Shrine Garden is a spring, believed to be a fountain of youth, and a small tea shop.
In 1999 Futarasan-jinja, Toshogu Shrine, and Rinnoji Temple were designated the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shrines and Temples of Nikko. Futarasan-jinja alone contains 23 Important Cultural Properties.