For those who are first timers here in Tokyo, there are many attractions in Tokyo worth visiting.
However, to those who have visited Tokyo a number of times, have you considered visiting the suburbs~
Today, I am going to introduce you to, one of the short distance traveler’s favorite – Nikko City which is located in the Tochigi Prefecture, in the mountains north of Tokyo! It is filled with world heritage sites, and it only takes 2 hours to travel from Tokyo by train, it is good for a one day trip!
Speaking of Nikko’s heritage monuments, we not forget about Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine, Futarasan Jinja, and Rinno-ji Temple.
Nikko Tasho-gu Shrine is the most popular shrine in Nikko.
Address: 2301 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture
Admission fee: Adult 1,300 Yen, High school / pupils 450 Yen
Business Hour: 8:00-17:00 (November ~ March, close at 16:00) ※ Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Transport: Tobu Nikko Station -> Tobu Bus (Chuzenji Onsen Line 中禅寺温泉行き) – Towards Chuzenji Onsen or Yumoto Onsen Line (湯元温泉行き)– Towards Yumoto Onsen (5 minutes) ->Shinkyo Station 神橋 and walk for 10 minutes. *Or walk from Tobu Nikko Station for about 40 minutes
It is located in the mountains of the Tochigi Prefecture and it is dedicated to Tokugawa Leyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. It was initially built in 1617, during the Edo Period, it was enlarged and Leyasu is enshrined there, where his remains are also entombed.
The famous buildings at the Tosho-gu include the richly decorated Yomeimon, a gate that is also known as “higurashi-no-mon”. Carvings in deep relief, painted in rich colors, decorate the shrine, and each of the decoration brings different meanings to it! Just the Yomeimon alone has 500 carvings on it!
The famous three monkeys’ emoticon originated inJapan, the carving of the three wise monkeys, who heard, spoke and saw no evil.
We also have an article on the most extravagant– Most noble Tosho-gu.
Another world heritage site is Rinno-ji. There are 38 national treasures and important cultural properties in this area! This building was established in the year 766 , among the famous buildings are the Taiyu in Reibyo (大猷院靈堂) and Sanbutsodo (三佛堂). The main hall was built in the Heian Period, it is the largest wooden architecture in Japan.
Address: 2300 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture
Admission Fee: Sanbutsodo– Adult – 400 Yen, Taiyu in Reibyo– Adult 550 Yen
Business Hour: 8:00-17:00 (November~March close at 16:00) ※Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Next to Tosho-gu Shrine is Futarasan Jinja, it is the oldest building in Nikko. It is listed as Nikko UNESCO World Heritage Site which has 1200 years of history. The shrine enshrines three deities: Okuninushi, Togorihime and Ajisukitakahikone, all three are very special! Futarasan shrine is the second largest shrine in Japan (the first is Ise Shrine), it is 3400 hectares~according to a legend, those protective guards were mistaken to be monsters and that left some marks on it, it can be seen on the “monster lantern”!
Address: 2307 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi
Admission fee: Free
Business Hour：8:00-17:00 (November~March close at 16:00) ※Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
You can also watch The Sacred Bridge from here (神橋Shinkyo). It was originally known as “Snake Bridge of Sedge (山管蛇橋)”, the beautiful vermilion lacquered structure is known as one of the three most beautiful bridges in Japan and listed as a world heritage site. According to a legend, a Jinja-Daious was using two snakes –green and red snakes which transformed into a bridge to help the priest cross the river.
Address: 2307 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi
Admission Fee: Adult 300 Yen
Business Hour: 8:00-17:00
If you have more than one day to spend in Nikko, I will also suggest you to visit the natural attractions, because it has spectacular views, it is ideal for hiking! It is also nearby hot springs, doing a spa while enjoying the scenery, it will be very refreshing!
Such as Senjogahara, Lake Chuzenjiko and Kegon Falls which is known as one of the three most famous waterfalls in Japan, they all have spectacular views!
At an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level, the Senjogahara Marshlands (戦場ヶ原, Senjōgahara) cover the plateau between Lake Chuzenji and Yumoto Onsen. The name can be translated as “battlefield” which refers to a mythical battle. The wooden hiking trail is very convenient! The hiking trail offers excellent viewsof the marshlands and it changes according to seasons, giving the visitors different experience~
Address: Tochigi Prefecture, Nikko National Park
Transport: 1 minute walking distance from Sambommatsu Station
Lake Chuzenjiko 中禪寺湖
Chuzenjiko is 1269 meters above sea level, it is a good place to enjoy the colors of autumn. It is located at the foot of Mount Nantai, Nikko’s sacred volcano, whose eruption blocked the valley below, thereby creating Lake Chuzenji about 20,000 years ago. It has attracted many people to go camping, fishing and boat rowing!
Transport: 1 minute walking distance from Chuzenjiko Station
Kegon Waterfall 華厳の滝
Kegon Waterfall is located in Nikko National Park, it is the only exit for waters of Lake Chuzenji. The 97 meter tall Kegon Waterfall is ranked as one of Japan’s three most beautiful falls since 1931. Visitor can also choose to take the 100 meter deep elevator to the observation platform.
Address: 2479-2 Nikko Shrine
Business Hour: 8:00-17:00(Changes according to seasons)
Admission Fee: Elevator return trip – Adult 550 Yen, children 330 Yen
Transport: 5 Minutes walking distance from Chuzenjiko Station