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

by Steffani - GoWithGuide travel specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 TripleLights 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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Recent Tour Reviews in Nikko

“ Caring Professional Friendly Guide ?? ”

1 year ago Traveler: Sasibha -   Tour Guide: Kaori

We spent the day with Kaori going off the beaten track in Nikkō. From the start, Kaori has been very responsive and clear in her communications. We knew exactly what to expect. We had a lovely day learning more about Japanese history and culture which was made fun because Kaori has a great sense of humour. She is very perceptive and caring as well. Thank you very much Kaori-San for a memorable...
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“ Mt Fuji and Nikko ”

1 year ago Traveler: Amy -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

We enjoyed the time with Tomoko. She is knowledgeable and very organised. Mt Fuji is so beautiful in a clear day! Toshogu Shrine is a must visit place, not only the amazing architecture and decoration, but also the beautiful natural surroundings. Local foods are delicious thanks to Tomoko’s recommendation.
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“ very dedicated guide! ”

1 year ago Traveler: Yingyin -   Tour Guide: Yoshihisa

We had a great time with Yoshihisa-san! Booking communication was great - very fast and prompt replies as well as suggestions to help make the tour more efficient. Instructions, details, inclusions/exclusions were communicated clearly Tour itself - Yoshihisa-san was early, gave clear and good introductions and explanations for the sights - also brought along a file with many printed pages of ...
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“ A Day in Nikko ”

1 year ago Traveler: TRINA -   Tour Guide: Shoji

We had an enjoyable day in Nikko with Shoji San. He knew Nikko very well, and we learned a lot from him, especially Japanese history! He was also very accommodating, and answered all our questions. He also brought us to a great restaurant for lunch.
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“ Wonderful tour of Nikko sights! ”

1 year ago Traveler: Jessica -   Tour Guide: Jack

Jack was a wonderful tour guide. We spent the day with him in Nikko. It was interesting, fun, and even delicious. He picked a wonderful spot for lunch on top of creating a beautifully-paced itinerary for the day. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive. I recommend very highly!
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“ We plan 3days tour Tokyo, Kawaguchigo and Nikko ”

1 year ago Traveler: Stephanie -   Tour Guide: MICHIKO

We really enjoy our time with Michiko that has patient with all of us 5 people ... Thank you so much Michiko .. especially our time at kawaguchi go and Nikko ... have a nice travelling Ms Michiko
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“ Attentive guide ”

Very Good
1 year ago Traveler: Inez -   Tour Guide: Hideaki

Hikeaki showed up at our hotel lobby early. He was very well prepared. He is attentive and gracious and will match his pace to what his clients like, which is nice. He showed us all the interesting aspects of Nikko. We enjoyed his company and felt well taken care of.
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“ Best day package for nature lovers ”

1 year ago Traveler: Norashikin -   Tour Guide: Jack

My husband and I had the best day trip at Nikko, thanks to Jack's excellent recommendation of places to visit and his impeccable timing. When we first contacted him, we specified that we wanted to enjoy Nikko's nature, and not so much the shrines as we have been to many in Tokyo and Kyoto. He suggested a route which we agreed upon and off we went. We started our day-tour driving through Cedar Aven...
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“ The Best Part of Tokyo is Nikko ”

1 year ago Traveler: Alex -   Tour Guide: Yoko

Let me start by saying Yoko speaks English well with little to no accent which is a huge plus in a guide. She is knowledgeable in Japanese history. We spent an entire day with her and she introduced us to the amazing sites at Nikko. If you want to experience Japanese history (2hr trip from Tokyo) a visit to Nikko is a must and you can not go wrong with Yoko.
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“ We spent 4 days with Yoshio visiting Kamakura and Nikko and exploring Tokyo more esoteric shopping areas. ”

1 year ago Traveler: PIERRE -   Tour Guide: YOSHIO

Yoshio has been a perfect organizer of tailor-made visits to our areas of interest. While this was my 4th visit to Japan, he was able to provide a number of new insights and experiences.
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Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
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