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9 Best Things To Do in Nikko : Places You Must Visit

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Steffani alivia S.

Last updated : Jun 11, 202211 min read

Things To Do

Are you looking for unusual and non-mainstream places to visit in Japan? Or are you looking for a serene place to calm your mind and relieve your stress? Then, Nikko is the answer for you. Located only 2 hours away from Tokyo, Nikko is really famous for its Instagram-worthy autumn scenery of peaceful mountain wilderness, and World Heritage Shrines and Temples, making for a perfect combination of both Japanese culture and nature at its best. Whether it is a short getaway from the busy and crowded Tokyo or a long trip to explore, Nikko is worth your time and money. Here are the best things to do in Nikko.

 

Shinkyo Bridge

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When you search for Nikko in Google search, the picture of Shinkyo Bridge will most likely pop up on your screen. Did you know that the bridge is regarded as one of Japan's 3 greatest bridges along with Kintaikyo Bridge (Yamaguchi Prefecture)  and Saruhashi Bridge (Yamanashi Prefecture). In the past, no ordinary person could cross the bridge as only important officials were able to do so. After 1973, the bridge is opened to public and now visitors can walk across the bridge with an entrance fee. The bridge is best seen during Fall in late October to early November when the bright autumn leaf colors meet with the blue water of the Daiya River and the vermilion color of the bridge, creating a nice color contrast that will certainly take your breath away.

 

Admission Fee:   ¥ 500 / US$ 4.75 - Adult 

                         ¥ 300 / US$ 2.8 - High School 

                        ¥ 200 / US$ 1.9 - Elementary & Junior High 

 

Toshogu Shrine

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This shrine is the most well-known one among the World Heritage Shrines and Temples in Nikko. It is the resting place for one of the most prominent figures in Japanese history, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was the first Shogun (head of military government) of the Edo period. The shrine itself is a distinct beauty decorated with lively colors, countless gold leafs, and wonderful carvings that express religious beliefs, differing from common Japanese shrines that emphasize simplicity. Inside the shrine complex you can find numerous buildings set together with a background of the serene forest. The main structures underwent major renovations in 1636 by Ieyasu's grandson, Tokugawa Iemitsu with 55 buildings reconstructed in just 1 year and 5 months. The cost is equivalent to ¥40 billion (US$ 380 million) in today’s money. One of the most notable buildings you can find is the Five Story Pagoda / Gojunoto. The other one is the Yomeimon Gate designated as a National Treasure. It is one of the most beautiful gates in Japan and is called "Gate of The Setting Sun" as one could stare upon it without end. While there, you can also visit the Nikko Toshogu Museum outside the paid area where you can see the collection of Tokugawa Ieyasu's personal belongings such as armor, swords, writing materials even the letters he wrote. 

 

Admission Fee: ¥1300 / US$ 12 (shrine) 

                          ¥1000 / US$ 10 (museum) 

                          ¥ 2100 / US$ 20 (both shrine and museum) 

 

Akechidaira Plateau

Akechidaira's location is near the top of the Irohazaka Slope. You can go up to the observation platform located at an altitude of 1,473 m by the ropeway. It will take 3 minutes to reach the top where there awaits jaw-dropping sights overlooking the Kegon Waterfall, Lake Chuzenjiko, and Mount Nantai all constituted in one frame before your very eyes. The view is most splendid during autumn with countless red, brown, and gold colored trees decorating the mountainous landscape. 

 

Before visiting, it's important to keep in mind that during bad weather, the ropeway will not be operating. Also, due to the popularity of this place during autumn, expect large crowds in Irohazaka. Therefore if you wish to avoid it don't go during weekends and try getting there early in the day. 

 

Admission Fee: ¥ 400 / US$ 3.8 (one way) 

                          ¥ 730 / US$ 7 (round trip)

 

Kegon Waterfall

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This waterfall is the most famous one in Nikko and ranked as one of Japan's 3 most beautiful waterfalls, together with Nacho Waterfall (Wakayama Prefecture) and Fukuroda Waterfall (Ibaraki Prefecture). The source of the waterfall's water comes from the nearby Lake Chuzenji. You can see Kegon Falls for free from the free observation platform, but it's recommended to see it from the paid platform at the bottom of the waterfall where you will have a better view of it. You can access the paid platform via the elevator that goes down 100 m deep. 

 

Admission Fee: ¥ 550 / US$ 5 - adult

                          ¥ 330 / US$ 3 - elementary student

 

Chuzenji Lake

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The lake that was formed because of the eruption of Mount Nantai 20,000 years ago. It is the largest lake in Tochigi Prefecture and is the lake with the highest elevation (1269 m above sea level) in Japan. Due to its location, the lake has cool climate during summer and has attracted American and European countries to open embassy villas there. You can enjoy the surrounding beauty of the lake by getting on the sightseeing boats or simply strolling around, making for one of the best free things to do in Nikko.

 

Admission Fee : Free

 

Irohazaka Winding Road

If you want more free things to do in Nikko, then this scenic road that connects Nikko City and the higher elevation mountainous region of Oku-Nikko is for you. The literal meaning of 'Iroha' is the first three of the formerly used Japanese alphabet that has 48 syllables and the Iroha Poem used to make remembering hiragana easier. While 'zaka' means slope. Thus the road named Irohazaka because they have 48 turns and in each curve there are signs showing hiragana characters. From late October to early November, if you drive along this road, your eyes are going to be pampered by the spectacular autumn panoramic view. 

 

Admission Fee : Free

 

Tobu World Square

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When you are visiting Nikko either with your family or friends, don't miss this fun and unique place. In this theme park, you can visit the most well-known places and structures from countries all around the world, all in one place. From the American Empire State Building, to Vatican St. Peter's Basilica, to Egyptian Temple of Abu Simbel, you can find 102 replicas of famous landmarks from 21 countries and 45 World Heritage Sites. All of the replicas have mind-blowing details making you feel like you are actually there. 

The theme park is also caters to its Muslim visitors, and comes with a prayer room and wudhu facilities, and halal food menu. 

 

Admission Fee : ¥ 2800 / US $ 26.5 - adult (on the spot) 

                          ¥ 1400 / US$ 13 - children (on the spot) 

                          ¥ 2500 / US$ 24 - adult (in advance) 

                          ¥1200 / US$ 11.3 - children (in advance) 

 

Edo Wonderland

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In this theme park, you can experience what it feels like to be a Japanese living during the Edo Period (1603-1868). This experience is surely not to be missed if you fell in love with the Japanese culture or even if you want to make the most out of your trip to Japan by experiencing traditional Japanese life. This is a fun way for you to learn about the Japanese culture. Inside the park, you can transform yourself into samurai, ninja, geisha or whatever you want by wearing the costumes or kimonos of your choosing. As you walk around, you will find friendly fellow townspeople who will be greeting you. They are the Edo Wonderland staff trying their best to make you feel belong in this town. The park is also full of interesting attractions, amusements, and performances that will never bore you. For example, you can watch the Mizugei-za performance, learn how to throw shuriken in the Ninja Village, create your own hair accessory at Aizome-Ya, and much more. 

 

Admission Fee: 1 Day Ticket for Adult : ¥  4700 / US$ 44.6 

                          1 Day Ticket for Children : ¥  2400 / US$ 22.8

                          Afternoon Pass for Adult: ¥ 4100 / US$ 38.9 

                          Afternoon Pass for Children: ¥ 2100 / US$ 20

 

Nikko Strawberry Park (30 mins all you can pick and eat)

Tochigi is the top producer of strawberries in Japan as it produces the finest quality of strawberries. If you are a big fan of strawberry, then you should definitely check this out. Nikko Strawberry Park is the only strawberry farm that Nikko has. Other than Tochigi's most famous strawberry, Tochiotome, you can also find other strawberry specimen such as sky berries, beni hoppe, and yayoi hime. Moreover, many foreign TV programs have filmed here, and the park receives many international tourists annually. In this strawberry park, you can enjoy the strawberry picking courses, where you can have a 30 minutes long all-you-can-pick and all-you-can-eat strawberries. They also provide condensed milk as a topping for your fresh picked strawberries. 

 

Admission Fee: ¥ 1500 - 1700 / US$ 14.2 - US$ 16 

 

Need help planning your trip to Nikko? Or simply want to go hassle-free?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Nikko, you can Send a Message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience. Guides also create their own Nikko Tours that you can browse from.

 

In case you can’t find the right tour you want, you can Request a Tour just for you. Just type what you would like to see and guides all over Nikko will send you quotes and their recommendations according to your interest and budget. 

 

In GoWithGuide website you can find the best professional local guides all across Japan to help you plan your trip. Check out our Local Guides for Japan.

 

Recommended Blogs

Tokyo to Nikko - 5 Things to do on a Day Trip to Nikko

Four Great Shrines and Temples of Nikko

Five Breathtaking Nikko Nature Spots

Day tour to Nikko from Tokyo - How to go and what to do

 

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Hello, my name is Yasuro (Mr). I was born and brought up in Kansai, graduated from a univ in Kobe city, after moved into Kanto, 30 years in Tokyo, 2.5 years in Nagoya city, 7.5 years abroad (KL & S'pore) as a rep of a construction company and I got the National Guide Certificate in 2011. My hobbies are making Haiku poems, singing various songs (voice-training for 18 years), playing the folk-guitar, trekking in mountains like Takao and Okutama in the West of Tokyo, visiting museums like in Ueno Park and travelling around Japan to make Haiku poems. Thank you for your attention.                                                                                                                                 

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Tokyo Tour Guide - Kaori S.

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Kon-ni-chi-wa. Hello! I'm Kaori, having lived in Tokyo for more than 20 years since I got married with a photographer who lives here. I'm originally from Shizuoka prefecture which has Mt.Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan. I took 2 working-holiday-visa stays in my younger days. One is in Toronto, Canada, and another is Australia touring by motorcycle. One year respectively. I love travel both international and domestic, especially by motorcycle. That's why I love helping individual travelers rather than normal package tours, cause I myself love travel freely. I love nature, gardens, trekking, greenery, cycling and motorcycle. I love to take you to the off-the-beaten tracks where I love in Tokyo. As a national government licensed guide, I've got deep knowledge of Japanese culture and history. I really enjoy talking about Japanese way of life with people from different cultures. But I'm so flexible that I don't bother if you're not so interested in. We see what you like and talk what you are interested in. That's my style. If you don't know what to want, I can help you with that. I'm outgoing, ( but organized pretty well!), very easy to get along with anybody, including small kids to teenagers. Can't wait to see you soon!                                                                                                                                 

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