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Nikko City and Nikko National Park | Areas and Attractions

Nikko 日光 is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, suggested in many travel guidebooks. Nikko is actually a general name for the eastern region in Tochigi prefecture which includes Nikko-shi city of Tochigi prefecture and Nikko National Park. Nikko area can be divided into 6 areas;
1.Historic Area
2.Chuzenjiko Lake Area
3.Senjogahara Area
4.Yumoto Area
5.Nikko Kinugawa Onsen Area
6.Kirifuri Area

Since it is almost impossible to visit all the areas in Nikko within one day, the suggestion is that you select at least one or two areas by your preference. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, hiking in the Nikko National Park on the first day is a choice. Then, schedule a trip with a one- or two-night-stay plan so that you can enjoy several attractions in Nikko. For example, visit temples and shrines during the day and stay at a Japanese ryokan (Inn) to enjoy Japanese cuisine and soak at Onsen hot springs in the evening.

1.Historic Area

Map of Nikko | Click on the map to enlarge

The area with historical temples and shrines nestled n forests. This historic area is reachable on foot from Nikko Station on the Tobu/JR railways. (a 30 or 40-min walk.) A city round bus is also available, departs from Nikko Station.

2.Chuzenjiko Lake Area 中禅寺湖(ちゅうぜんじこ) エリア

This resort area is known for the Chuzenjiko Lake and the 97m-high Kegon Falls. The bus service is available from the bus terminal in front of Nikko Station (JR/Tobu Railways.)

3.Senjogahara Area 戦場ヶ原(せんじょうがはら) エリア

The wetland area in Nikko National Park is where people can enjoy hiking along the walking trails. This area is reachable by bus departing from Nikko Station (JR/Tobu Railways). A low-pollution bus service is available to travel around this area.

4.Yumoto Area 湯元(ゆもと) エリア

A resort area of Onsen hot springs nestled in the mountains. Yumoto is also known as a winter sports resort. Along with the Chuzenjiko and Senjogahara areas, the bus service is available from Nikko Station (JR/Tobu Railways).
*FYI Yumoto means "a fount of hot spring". So, there are several towns named Yumoto in Japan.

5.Nikko Kinugawa Onsen Area 鬼怒川(きぬがわ) エリア

A hot spring resort town located in the north of the Nikko area, known for amusements like Nikko Wonderland  (Ninja shows are performed) or Tobu World Square. The transportation available is buses or trains of the Tobu Railway. If you go to Kinugawa Onsen by Tobu Line from Nikko Station, change train at Shimo-imaichi station (下今市駅) to take Tobu Kinugawa Line and get off at Kinugawa Onsen station (鬼怒川温泉駅).

6.Kirifuri Area 霧降(きりふり) エリア

A resort area surrounded by nature, where Kirifuri Highlands 霧降高原 lay, known for camping sites and the beautiful nature around. There are a number of small waterfalls, and seasonal flowers bloom along the walking path. Kirifuri area is also known as a cottage area, has ski slopes and golf courses.

Tips for traveling in Nikko

If you plan a one-day trip, focus on sightseeing around the historic area, accessible with a 30- or 40-min walk from Nikko Station. The historic area has 4 famous shrines and temples, include Nikko Toshogu Shrine (東照宮), Rinnoji Temple(輪王寺), Futarasan Shrine (二荒山神社), and Rinnoji Taiyuin Temple (輪王寺大猷院). Along rivers and in the mountains, there are scenic spots and places of historical interest, such as Takio Shrine (滝尾神社), Shiraito Falls (白糸ノ滝) and Kamanagafuchi Abyss.(憾満ガ淵).

If you plan to visit all of the 4 temples/shrines (Toshogu shrine, Rinnoji temple, Futarasan shrine and Taiyuin temple), buying a 1000-yen combination ticket allows you to save some admission fees, which are usually paid at each temple/shrine individually. (FYI The regular admission fee to Toshogu shrine is 1300 Yen, Rinnoji temple is 900 Yen. ) This combination ticket is called Kyoutsu Haikan Ken 共通拝観券, and is sold at the ticket office near the entrance of Toshogu shrine (on the right side)
* This combination ticket is not currently available.

The budget way to get to Nikko from Tokyo

The most budget way to get to Nikko from Tokyo is to take a local train on the Sky-tree Line departing from Tobu Asakusa station, which will be a 3-hour ride with a fare of 1383 JP yen. From Tobu Asakusa station, take the sky tree-line (Kyuko Express ) bound for Minamikurihashi 南栗橋 (70-min ride), where you change trains and take the Tobu-Nikko Line Express train to Tobu Nikko station. (100-min ride)

Quickest way to get to Nikko from Tokyo

The quickest is to take a super-express SPACIA Kegon/Liberty on the Tobu line. From Tobu Asakusa station, the comfortable train takes you to the Tobu Nikko station within 2 hours, where you don't need to change trains. The train fare for Kegon/Liberty is 2853 JP yen. You can book a sheat online or at the office in a Tobu train station.

Tobu Nikko Station

Toshogu Shrine - Historic Area

Futrasan Shrine - Historic Area

Taiyouin Temple-| Historic Area

Shinkyo Bridge - Historic Area

Tamozawa Imperial Villa - Historic Area

Kegon Falls - Chuzenji Lake Area

Lake Chuzenji - Chuzenji Lake Area

Ryuzu Falls - Chuzenji Lake Area

Yudaki Falls - Yumoto Area

Kinugawa River | Kinugawa Area

Ryuokyo Valley - Kinugawa Area

Related Websites

Tobu Railways 

Nikko City Tourism Association

Nikko Yumoto Onsen Hot Springs 
http://www.nikkoyumoto.com/ (Japanese website) 

Chuzenjiko Lake Cruise 

Nikko National Park

Edo Wonderland 

Tobu World Square 

Nikko Ice Backs

JR (East Japan Railway)
If you have a JR Pass, you can make the use when traveling to Nikko.
Take a JR Shinkansen YAMABIKO bound for Utsunomiya 宇都宮駅 (*45-min from Ueno Sta.)
From Utsunomiya, take the JR Nikko-sen train bound for Nikko. (48-min ride)

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Hotels and Ryokans in Nikko
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