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Nikko

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Carvings in Toshogu

Nikkō (日光) [1] is a small town to the north of Tokyo, in Tochigi Prefecture.

Understand[edit]

The first temple in Nikko was founded more than 1,200 years ago along the shores of the Daiya River. However, in 1616, the dying Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu made it known that his final wish was for his successors to "Build a small shrine in Nikko and enshrine me as the God. I will be the guardian of peace keeping in Japan." As a result, Nikko became home of the mausoleums of the Tokugawa Shoguns, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Unlike most Japanese temples and shrines, the buildings here are extremely gaudy and ornate, with multicolored carvings and plenty of gold leaf, and show heavy Chinese influence. Some sense of dignity is restored by a magnificent forest of over 13,000 cedar trees, covering the entire area.

However, for all of the grandeur the shoguns could muster, they're now over-shadowed in the eyes of many visitors by a trio of small wooden carvings on a stable wall: the famous three wise monkeys.

Get in[edit]

Magnificent enough?
A famous Japanese saying proclaims Nikko wo minakereba "kekkō" to iu na. Most tourist literature translates this as "Don't say 'magnificent' until you've seen Nikko", but there's another dimension to this Japanese pun: it can also mean "You shouldn't say 'enough' before you see Nikko", since "kekkō" is used in Japanese as a very polite way of declining an offer.


By train[edit]

By Tobu[edit]

The fastest and most convenient way to access Nikko is on the private Tōbu Nikkō Line (東武日光線) [2] from Tokyo's Tobu-Asakusa station. From the Tokyo Asakusa station, take exit 4, and the Tobu train station is visible once you reach street level -- it's at the same intersection. The Tobu "2Day Nikko Pass" is a great value (covers train from Tobu-Asakusa station to Tobu-Nikko station, but only on the "Rapid" and "Section Rapid" trains -- the speedier "Spacia" train will cost extra; Bus ride in Nikko world heritage area). You can also bring food ( and varied beverages ) to picnic on the train.

Tōbu Railway runs all-reserved limited express services, known as tokkyū (特急) trains, to the area. These trains, which use Tobu's "SPACIA" railroad equipment, have comfortable, reclining seats, with vending machines and KIOSUKU available on most trains. One service, called Kegon (けごん) runs directly from Asakusa to Nikko in the morning, and back to Asakusa in the afternoon. There is one daily departure from Asakusa at 7:30 am, and depending on the season, there may be an additional departure at 9:30 am. The other service, Kinu (きぬ), departs from Asakusa more frequently, but branches off to Kinugawa so you will need to transfer at Shimo-Imaichi station (下今市) to a local shuttle train for the final 10-minute run to Nikko. This train is timed to meet the Kinu arrival. Both the Kegon run, and the Kinu run with transfer, take about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Regular direct trains, which depart from Asakusa, cost ¥1360 each way. Rapid, or Kaisoku (快速) trains, take two hours; the slower Section Rapid, or Kukan-Kaisoku (区間快速) takes 2 1/2 hours. You must board one of the last two cars, since the train divides on route.

In addition, Tōbu Railway offers three convenient passes for Nikko and Kinugawa hot spring area, which can be used only by visitors to Japan.

  1. All Nikko Pass [3] allows unlimited buses and train access in the Nikko and Kinugawa area and includes some discounts for nearby attractions, but does not include entry to the shrines. Valid for 4 days, cost ¥4520. Recommended for visitors coming to see Nikko's lakes and falls.
  2. 2Day Nikko Pass [4] covers a round-trip to Nikko and Kinugawa and unlimited buses for world heritage area. Valid for 2 days, cost ¥2670. Some discounts for Kinugawa Theme Park are also included. It does not cover the bus fare to Lake Chuzenji (940 yen each way, Pasmo cards also accepted) This pass does NOT include entry to the shrines and temple.
  3. Kinugawa Themepark Pass [5] covers round-trip train fare, bus pass and admission to Tobu World Square or [Edo Wonderland][[6]] or both theme parks. These passes cost ¥4080 for Tobu World Square, ¥6180 for Edo Wonderland and ¥7380 for both theme park.

All three passes allows unlimited train rides (regular trains only) from Shimo-Imaichi to Tobu-Nikko and Kinugawa Hot Spring Stations. These passes are only valid for trains departing from Tobu-Asakusa - they cannot be used for trains leaving Shinjuku or Ikebukuro. For those, see the joint JR/Tobu route below.

These passes can be booked online. You can get 20% discount to reserve seats and travel on the limited express services.

You can get these passes at Tobu Sightseeing Service Center, Asakusa Station. Staff who can speak English, Chinese and Korean are available.

By JR[edit]

Travel by JR costs more and takes longer, and isn't really worth considering unless you have a Japan Rail Pass, in which case you can take the Tohoku Shinkansen (Yamabiko, Max Yamabiko, Tsubasa or Nasuno) from Tokyo Station or Ueno to Utsunomiya (50 minutes or 44 minutes, respectively), then connect to the JR Nikko line (43 minutes from Utsunomiya to Nikko). From Tokyo Station, the whole trip will take from about 1 hour 40 minutes to around 2 hours, depending mostly on the connection in Utsunomiya.

By JR and Tobu[edit]

In March of 2006, JR East and Tobu began joint limited-express service from Shinjuku station to the Nikko area.

This service offers one daily round-trip between Shinjuku and Tobu-Nikko station. The Nikko limited express departs Shinjuku at 7:12, and makes stops at Ikebukuro and Omiya, then continues via JR tracks to Kurihashi station, where control of the train is turned over to Tobu. Operating over the Tobu Nikko line, the train then makes three more stops before terminating at Tobu-Nikko. The one-way journey lasts about two hours.

Other limited express trains depart Shinjuku for Kinugawa, so you will have to transfer to a shuttle train at Shimo-Imaichi for the final run to Tobu-Nikko. This also takes about two hours. This service is all in addition to Tobu's regularly-scheduled Kegon and Kinu service into and out of Asakusa.

Seat reservations are mandatory, and the fare for this journey is ¥3900 each way. Japan Rail Pass holders can use this limited express train departing Shinjuku for ¥1560 each way (covering the portion of the trip between Kurihashi and Tobu-Nikko).

Holders of the JR East Rail Pass, on the other hand, may use the service to Nikko at no additional charge; the trip is fully covered. Unlike the regular Japan Rail Pass, the JR East Pass also covers local Tobu trains between Shimo-Imachi and Tobu-Nikko, and Shimo-Imaichi and Kinugawa-Onsen. You will have to pay separate fares for any services that are not covered.

If you plan on taking this service in both directions, consider the JR Tobu Nikko Kinugawa Free Pass (¥7800), sold to Japanese and foreigners alike. Valid for three consecutive days, it includes one round-trip on the joint JR/Tobu limited express service and unlimited travel on local Tobu trains and buses within that area. It does not include admission to the Nikko temples.

There are luggage lockers at Tobu-Nikko Station and JR Nikko Station.

Get around[edit]

There is a Sight-Seeing Inquiry Office in Tobu-Nikko station (Tel. 0288-53-4511) which may be able to provide some help. They can also help with booking accommodation but charge a 20% commission. Both stations are about two kilometers to the west of the shrine area.

To reach the shrines, you can take a Tobu Bus (bus stop 2C just outside the Tobu Nikko train station, bus fare included in Tobu's World Heritage Pass, about a 6 minute bus ride to the UNESCO World Heritage area), or you can get up close and personal with the neighborhood and use your own two feet, following the pedestrian signs along the main road (Route 119). Getting off at bus stops 81-85 on the Tobu 2C bus line will get you to the shrine and temple area. Halfway between the stations and shrines, you can stop at the Tourist Information Center (591 Gokomachi area; Tel. 0288-53-3795) to get maps, ask questions (some English spoken), use the Internet (¥100/30 minutes), and quench your thirst with water from a small, ladle-drawn waterfall. Also if it is raining, they very happily lend out umbrellas and you are able to drop these off on the way back. Allow about a half-hour or so to walk from the train station to the shrine entrance.

See[edit][add listing]

Carvings on Yōmeimon Gate at Tōshō-gū Shrine
View of Shoyoen, Rinnoji Temple

The temple area in Nikko consists of the three main temles Toshogu, Rinnoji, and Futarasan and numerous smaller ones. The combination ticket for the sites is no longer available, so you need to purchase individual tickets. Guides can be arranged (Tel. 0288-54-0641) for the three sites at ¥5500 for 1-20 people.

  • Tōshōgū (東照宮). Apr-Oct 8AM-4:30PM, Nov-Mar 8AM-3:30PM. The burial place of dynasty founder Tokugawa Ieyasu and the most extravagant of the lot. Ieyasu was buried here immediately after his death, but the present complex was only built in 1634 on the order of his grandson Iemitsu. The shrine took 2 years to complete with the efforts of 15,000 workers. ¥1300.  edit
    • After two flights of steps you will reach the Sacred Stable, housing a white horse. The most famous symbol here is the carving of the three wise monkeys, who "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil". They're part of a curious series of carvings about the life cycle of a monkey, from giddy childhood to fearful old age. Nearby, you can also find an interesting approximation of an elephant, carved by an artist who had clearly never seen one. Admission is 1,300 for adults.
    • Yakushi-dō Hall (薬師堂), the Hall of the Medicine Buddha, is known for a dragon painting on the ceiling. A monk is usually on hand to speak (Japanese only) and strike a special block whose sharp, piercing sound is said to be identical to the cry of a dragon — not quite the roar of English legend but an attention-getter all the same.
    • Yomei-mon Gate (陽明門) is an incredibly ornate gate with over 400 carvings squeezed in. Starting Spring 2013, this gate will undergo a six-year restoration, according to the Nikko Cultural Association for the Preservation of Shrines and Temples.
    • To the right of the main hall is the way to Ieyasu's tomb. Look out for another famous carving, this time of a sleeping cat (nemuri-neko). There are 200 stone steps, and steep ones at that; and then you finally reach the surprisingly simple gravesite itself.
  • Taiyuin-byō (大猷院廟). Apr-Oct 8AM-4:30PM, Nov-Mar 8AM-3:30PM. After completing Toshogu, Iemitsu himself was buried here. Smaller in scale (but not by much), this is generally held to be artistically superior to its predecessor.  edit
  • Rinnō-ji Temple (輪王寺), [7]. Apr-Oct 8AM-4:30PM, Nov-Mar 8AM-3:30PM. Known for its three large Buddha figures (at the Sanbutsudoh Hall portion of Rinnoji Temple) and for the beautiful and peaceful Shōyō-en Garden (逍遥園), the temple is closed for renovation until 2020. The entrance price allows you to see one of the three Buddhas and the renovation works. ¥400.  edit
  • Futarasan Shrine (二荒山神社), (Directly west of Toshogu.), [8]. Apr-Oct 9AM-4:30PM, Nov-Mar 9AM-3:30PM. This structure, built in 1617, is the oldest in Nikko. The shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Nikko's three holy mountains Mt. Nantai, Mt. Nyoho and Mt. Taro.  edit

There are a few other sites near the temple area:

  • Shinkyō (神橋). This much-photographed red bridge separates the shrines from the town of Nikko. In feudal times, only the shogun was permitted to cross the bridge, and even today it's barred from pedestrian traffic — although there's a 4-lane highway rumbling right past. You can get a nice view from the sidewalk, but to set foot on the bridge and look down into the gorge below, you'll have to buy a ¥350 ticket from the booth nearby.
  • Takino-o Shrine (滝尾神社 Takino-o-jinja). This often overlooked mountain shrine is situated slightly up the mountain behind Toshogu and provides a welcome relief from the more crowded areas of Sannai. It takes its name from the picturesque waterfall that greets you at the base of the entrance. You can get there by walking for about 15-20 minutes along an ancient and atmospheric stone path that begins behind the Toshogu Shamusho (office). This path also features several other notable sites such as the Kyosha-do Hall (Japanese Chess pieces are left here as offerings for hopes of a safe birth), the worship hall Kaisan-do and the gravesite of Shodo-Shonin (the latter two are maintained by Rinnoji Temple).
  • Kanmangafuchi Abyss. A long series of jizo protector statues on the side of a hill, some adorned with hats and bibs, some crumbling with age, with a river, small waterfalls and rapids below. Legend says that the statues change places from time to time, and a visitor will never see them in the same order twice. It can be tricky to find - at Shinkyō, instead of heading up the steps to the temple area, follow the road around to the west (to the left, if you crossed over the bridge) and walk roughly half an hour following the river - look for signs along the way. You will be walking through a residential area. If you pass the Turtle Inn, you are heading in the correct direction. 500 yen entry fee (however, free in Summer 2014).
  • Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park (Tel. 0288-53-6767; open 9:00am-4:30pm, closed Tuesdays). Built for the Emperor Taisho in 1899, the former imperial villa also served as a hide-out for Hirohito during World War II. It's next to the Botanical Garden.
  • Nikko Botanical Garden (Tel. 0288-54-0206; open 9:00am-4:30pm, closed Mondays and Dec.-mid-April). [9] Has plenty of the local flora and gardens that were said to be favorites of the Emperor Taisho. It's now an adjunct to Tokyo University.

Do[edit][add listing]

Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall
  • Nikko National Park offers plenty of hiking opportunities.
    • National Route 120 heads from the center of town into the park, passing Mt. Nantai and Lake Chuzenji (中禅寺湖 Chuzenji-ko) on its way to the Senjogahara Plateau, where the gods of Mt. Nantai and Mt. Akagi are said to have battled for possession of Lake Chuzenji - with several animal and insect transformations and archery experts involved in Mt. Nantai's eventual victory. There's a 6.3km walking course of the plateau; allow a little over two and a half hours. Lake Chuzenji itself is surrounded by hiking trails ranging from 4.6km (an hour and a half) to 19.7km (six hours). The area is sometimes called Oku-Nikko (奥日光 Oku-Nikko), meaning "Inner Nikko".
    • Route 120 then crosses over the Yukawa River and passing the Yudaki Falls, Lake Yunoko and the Yumoto spa and ski slopes to the northwest of the city, eventually reaching Mt. Shirane and Lakes Kirikomi and Karikomi, which have their own walking courses.
    • Once inside the park, special "low-pollution hybrid" buses run from a depot at Akanuma, near the Yukawa River and the Ryuzu Falls, to the nature preserve at Senjugahama, on the western shores of Lake Chuzenji. Parking is free at Akanuma, but the road to Senjugahama is closed to all other vehicles.
  • A short walk south from the center of town will get you on a strenuous but rewarding hiking trail to the summit of Mt. Nakimushi (鳴虫山 Nakimushiyama). Allow a few hours for a return trip.
  • Adventurous hikers might want to take the city bus to Matō, down National Route 122 in the far southwestern corner of Nikko city territory, in order to hike to Akagane Shinsui Koen (Copper Hydro Park), billed as Japan's Grand Canyon, as pollution has killed all the trees and left the valley bare. The infamous Ashio copper mine was located nearby. (See Kiryu for details.)
  • Woodsman's Village, 4401-1 Naka-Okorogawa, Nikko-shi, Tochigi, Japan (By Car: From Tokyo take Tohoku Highway to the Nikko Utsunomiya Toll Road about 2 and 1/2 hours. Get off at the Imaichi IC. It takes about 20 minutes from Imaichi to Woodsmans Village; By Train: From Asakusa, Tokyo Take the Limited express on the Tobu Railways (Nikko Line) to Shimoimaichi Station, this takes about 1 and 1/2 hours. Then you have two options: walk to the Imaichi JR station (takes about 10 minutes) and take the Okorogawa Bus or you can also take a taxi, which should cost about ¥4,500.), 0288-63-3324, [10]. Woodsman's Village is a place in the beautiful hills of Nikko, where one can rent a log cabin for a certain length of time to stay in. Also, there is an option for renting a barbecue grill.  edit
Show at Nikko Edomura
  • Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura "江戸ワンダーランド日光江戸村" is a cultural theme park that resurrects and showcases the life and culture of the Edo period, the park hosts Edo period architecture from rural lodgings to urban samurai residences and government buildings. Also features 7 theatres featuring various traditionally themed shows including Ninja action and Oiran shows in addition to outdoor live shows, seasonal festivals, restaurants shopping etc. Edo Wonderland also has a range of visitor experiences for adults and children including Ninja workshops, Japanese traditional archery, shuriken throwing and costume hire. Address: 470-2 Karakura,Nikko, Tochigi,321-2524 Phone: +81-288-77-1777 Price: adults ¥4,500 children ¥2,300 Operating hours: Changes seasonally please refer to website available in English. Access: from Tokyo, the best option depends largely on the departure time:
    • 1. Train from Tobu Asakusa Station to Tobu Nikko Station. From JR Nikko Station (2 min walk) the Edo Wonderland free shuttle bus may be caught to Edo Wonderland.
    • 2. Train from Tobu Asakusa Station to Kinugawa-Onsen Station. From Kinugawa Onsen Station take the local bus directly to Edo Wonderland.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Aside from the usual good luck charms at the shrines and souvenir shops selling phone straps of Hello Kitty in local dress there are several interesting secondhand shops along Hippari Dako selling used kimono, antiques and knick knacks. Many stores also sell yuba, the 'skin' that forms on top when making tofu, in packages that can be taken home to enjoy.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Yuba for sale

Yuba, the 'skin' that forms on top when making tofu, seems to be everywhere in Nikko. Even if you're not a fan of tofu, it tastes pretty good, especially with soba (buckwheat noodles in a soup broth). Yuba is also one of the most typical edible omiyage from Nikko.

  • Hippari Dako (on main street just before the shrines). Enshrined in Lonely Planet, every other foreign tourist to Nikko seems to stop here for yakitori (Japanese chicken kebabs) and noodles, so you might as well join the crowd. Every available space is plastered with business cards and scribbled recommendations from visitors. Their menu contains several vegetarian options as well. Dishes ¥500 and up.
  • Gurumans Wagyu, Tokorono 1541, 0288-53-3232, [11]. 11:30 AM ~ 2:00 PM / 5:30 ~ 7:30 PM. Wagyu (japanese beef) steak restaurant in Nikko. 3-4 minutes taxi from Nikko station. Reservation needed. The dress code is not too strict, but no sandals, no running wear.  edit
  • Shiawaseya Hakuun, (Turn right as you come out of Toba Nikko station, it is almost the last shop on your right before the traffic signal.), [12]. A great place to have a cup of tea and something sweet whilst waiting for your train or bus. Endless green tea comes with everything. Try the anmitsu (¥400) a dessert made up of fruit, bean jam and molasses.  edit
  • Farmers market shop. Off the tourist trail this is a good place for some fresh fruit and veg at non-tourist-trap prices. Turn right as you leave Tobu Nikko station, right again at the traffic lights, and it is the last shop on the right before the bridge over the river.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

May 2014 update: Nikko Brewery is no longer operating [13] The Nikko Brewery [14] is on the outskirts of town. Go up the main street towards the river. Cross the river near the red bridge then take a right and keep going. It'll be about 700m or so on the left side. Their Nikko Beer is a pleasing pilsner style lager, served in a glass or a large handle for around 800yen. Very nice, crisp and refreshing and definitely best on tap. They sometimes have some seasonal brews on hand, such as dark, amber, and special ales.

There is a small alcohol shop across from the station that is run by an old couple and has an interesting selection of world beers.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Nikko can be covered in a busy day trip from Tokyo, but it's also a good place to spend the night, especially in a traditional Japanese ryokan guesthouse. The shrines are quite atmospheric early in the morning and at dusk, when the tour buses are not around.

Budget[edit]

There are several campsites in Nikko, although only Narusawa (+81 0288-54-3374) and Ogurayama (+81 0288-54-2478) are open year-round; several others run from April to mid-November or July to August.

  • SPACE riverhouse, Minami Okorogawa, +81 80-1215-4018 (), [15]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: 12AM. A remote hostel, surrounded by nature on the riverside with a ambient chillout lounge overlooking the river. Good Western breakfast. (previously known as Zen Hostel) ¥4,000.  edit
  • Daiyagawa Youth Hostel (大谷川ユースホステル), +81 0288-54-1974, [16]. A cosy and very friendly place which can be a bit narrow at times, but it's the obvious choice for budget travellers with ¥2730 for a bunk bed. The owner is very hearty and is happy to lend guide books and answer questions. Either walk about 10 minutes uphill on the main street or take the bus to the tourist information centre, from there take the first right and follow the road up the river for a few minutes. It's a bit tucked away and directly at the Daiyagawa river.  edit
  • Narusawa Lodge, 1462-22 Tokorono (Turn right out of Tobu station, then right again into the road that bridges the large river. Keep straight up the slope, turn left at the sign for Narusawa. Continue until you pass by a left branch with a small bridge, Narusawa is just past here on the right.), +81 0288-54-1630 (, fax: +81 0288-54-1630), [17]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 10AM. A Japanese traditional guest house. Owner is very friendly and may pick you up from the station if he is available. He also will drive guests to a nearby public onsen every night at 8pm. Free tea/coffee, the guest house is located about 15-20 minutes walk from the station. ¥3,675.  edit
  • Nikko Guesthouse Sumica, 5-12 Aioi-cho, (), [18]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. A traditional Japanese guest house, located a few minutes from the Tobu and JR stations. Friendly owners. ¥2600 to 3800.  edit
  • Nikko Tokanso, 321-1431 Tochigi, Nikko, Sannai 2335, +81-288-54-0611, [19]. A traditional Japanese guest house, a 5 minute walk) to the UNESCO World Heritage shrines and temples (albeit slightly hard to find -- it's set back slightly from the main road. The staff are helpful and friendly. The rooms are very clean, and the futons are comfortable (plus they have spare futons and pillows in the room which you can add to tailor to your level of comfort). They have private half baths (sink + toilet). The main bathtub/onsen is public (shared among hotel guests), but you can reserve the private "family bath" for 50 minutes during your stay for no extra charge -- this is a great way to get a private onsen experience, plus the antechamber to the private onsen has a sink and hair dryer. The dinner (¥3000 per person, served in a common dining room, reserve dinner time at check in on a first-come, first-serve basis -- reservations for dinner can also be made at time of room booking) a great value (many dishes) and cultural experience. Breakfast is also available for ¥1000 per person, first service in the dining room starts at 7:30am (dining times also reserved at time of room booking or checkin). There is free coffee and tea in the lobby, as well as a public use computer with Internet. The ryokan is also very friendly to travelers from all over -- their hotel information packets (in the guest room) are translated into English, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. ¥3600 per person.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Ryokan Funamisou (舟見荘), 2 Ohara, Kinugawa Onsen, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-2552, Japan, (), [20]. A Japanese ryokan about fifteen minutes on foot from Kosagoe station (which is about 30 minutes from Tobu Nikko Station by train). Includes public and private (family room) natural hot spring bath. Quiet and surrounded by nature along side the kinugawa river. Provide Japanese cuisine with seasonal, fresh ingredients. Friendly manager who speaks Italian. Popular among local Japanese and starting to attract overseas customers. Recommended for a local Japanese experience. English online reservation available. Japanese-style rooms from ¥7,000 no meals, ¥8,500 including breakfast, ¥10,500 including dinner and breakfast per person for one person; price drops per person by 2,000 yen for two or more people.  edit
  • Annex Turtle Hotori-An, 8-28 Takumi-cho, 0288-53-3663 (, fax: 0288-53-3883), [21]. About fifteen minutes on foot from the Shinkyō bridge, in a quiet area near the Kanmangafuchi Abyss; includes a hot spring bath and internet access. Japanese-style rooms ¥6,500 for one person, ¥12,400 for two, ¥17,700 for three.  edit
  • Catnip Bed & Breakfast (キャット二ップ), 0288-54-3120, [22]. This comfortable family-run B&B is a fair hike from the station but the 40 minute walk is beautiful and the owners promise you a free beer on arrival. Alternatively you can take the #6 bus or arrange to be picked up from the station. The rooms are spacious and charming, with shared bathrooms. A bargain at ¥5000 per adult or ¥4000 for children for the first night, there is a ¥1000 discount for each subsequent night and a hot breakfast is included in the price. The owners speak fantastic English.  edit
  • Forest Inn Nikko Teddy Bear House, 1543-507 Tokorono, 0288-54-0234 (fax: 0288-54-0237), [23]. A place to rest your head for the night, and a private collection of teddy bears to peruse! Japanese and Western-style rooms ¥5,250 for one person, ¥10,500 for two, ¥15,750 for three.  edit
  • Nikko Park Lodge, 2828-5 Tokorono, 0288-53-1201, [24]. This laid-back, friendly and unapologetic lodge is located about twenty minutes' walk from the town center, although the owner is happy to provide rides to and from the train stations (and to the temple area in the morning). There are twin, double and four-person rooms at ¥3990 per person. English is spoken. The lounge has comfortable sofas and a warm stove for the winter. Although most of the rooms have showers, there are lovely Japanese-style hot baths on the first floor. Zen yoga classes are offered every morning at 7AM for ¥300. A simple breakfast is ¥395 and the vegan 'zen' dinner (¥1800, reservation required) is recommended, but be prepared to spend a couple of hours waiting for your meal after the advertised starting time. Parking is available.  edit
  • Nikko Inn (日光イン), (right in front of Tobu Shimogoshiro station (which is about 20 minutes by train from Tobu Nikko station)), 0288-27-0008, [25]. Traditional Japanese style accommodation located in a farm village, with a professed interest in helping "Japanese people rediscover Japan and foreigners experience Japanese culture." Pricing is complicated, but basically you pay ¥5000/person/night, plus a one-time "facility charge" of ¥3000-4500 depending on which cottage you stay in.  edit
  • Turtle Inn Nikko, 216 Takumi-cho, 0288-53-3168 (, fax: 0288-53-3883), [26]. About ten minutes to the temple area; includes a hot spa bath and internet access. Japanese and Western-style rooms ¥4,880 for one person, ¥9,000 for two, ¥12,600 for three.  edit
  • Logette Sainbois, 1560 Tokorono, +81-288-53-0082, [27]. checkin: 16.00; checkout: 10.00. A strangely French name for a pleasant little guesthouse a short walk from Toba Nikko station. Run by an old Japanese couple who moved here for the quiet life. The guesthouse has small and cosy western style rooms, a communal Japanese bath, and serves excellent breakfasts and dinners. Lifts to and from the station are easily arranged. Adequate English is spoken, credit cards accepted, free LAN internet in the lobby. Around ¥6,500 per night, dinner ¥2,000, breakfast ¥800..  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Senhime Monogatari, 6-48 Yasukawa-cho (5 minute taxi ride from JR Nikko train station), +81 288-54-1010 (fax: +81 288-54-0557), [28]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Modern ryokan with both traditional Japanese and Western Japanese rooms. Indoor and outdoor hot springs available 24 hours/day. Impeccable traditional Japanese dinners utilizing a multitude of fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. Choice of Western or Japanese style breakfast. Very personal service, English spoken well. Every room has a beautiful view of the Otani River. Located about 1000 feet from Tōshōgū Shrine. ¥15,000.  edit
  • Tōkansō (東観荘), 2335 Sannai, +81 288-54-0611 (fax: +81 288-53-3914), [29]. A well-located ryokan used to English-speaking guests, the flip side is the large size and consequently impersonal service. ¥9450.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Chuzenji — lakes, temples and waterfalls
  • Kirifuri Highlands — waterfalls, hiking and skiing
  • Kinugawa — hot springs and the offbeat Tobu World Square/Edo Wonderland theme parks
  • Yumoto — more hot springs
  • Those with an interest in pottery or steam locomotives may enjoy Mashiko on the way back to Tokyo.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!






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