Nikko: Best Things to Do

Best things to see in Nikko from the Toshogu Shrine to Kegon Falls

Nikko is a city in Tochigi Prefecture with numbers of historical sites from Edo era. Nikko’s shrines and temples complexes includes the UNESCO world heritage site Shinto shrine,”Nikko Toshogu”. Besides, the area is gifted with the beautiful nature such as mountains, lake and waterfall. Nikko is worth visiting just for one day, and it only takes few hours from Tokyo by car or public transport.

Today I’d like to share the best things to do in Nikko! 🙂

– Access from Tokyo Station

By car: via Tohoku Expressway

By train: — JR Tohoku Shinkansen to Utsunomiya Station then JR Nikko Line

Or Chiyoda line from Otemachi Station then Tobu Nikko/Kinugawa line from Kitasenju Station

▶︎Check out How to Get to Nikko from Tokyo in this article!

– Things to do

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Built in 1617 in Edo era, Nikko Toshogu was dedicated to the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu who is the founder of Edo era. What is unique about Nikko Toshogu is the building structures and the lavish and colourful decoration. The numbers of animals in those sculptures are thought to be symbols of peace which includes the famous three wise monkeys and the sleeping cat.

Shinkyo (sacred bridge)

At the entrance of Futarasan Shrine,accross the Daiya river, this red bridge is considered as one of the three finest bridge in Japan. This is one of the best places to photograph in Japan.


National route 120 in Nikko, which connects Nikko city and Lake Chuzenji with total 48 curves at the upslope and downslope roads. This Iroha slope attracts many drivers and scenic view lovers.

Kegon Falls

The most famous waterfalls in Japan, Kegon Falls is located at Lake Chuzenji. There is an observation deck available which you can reach close by the waterfalls. The view is simply outstanding.

Lake Chuzenji

Located in Nikko National Park by the stratovolcano mountain,Mt.Nantai which create the lake by its eruption. This scenic lake is perfect to chill out or hike around with the fresh breeze.

Autumn Leaves

Although Nikko is a popular tourist destination all year around, the most recommended to time to visit is in autumn. From mid October to early November, the rich nature of Nikko turn its colour into red autumn colours. It’s one of the most popular spots in Japan for autumn leaves viewing.

All those sites can be seen in one day easily, yet if you wish to take your time, it is ideal to stay one night at local onsen ryokan to enjoy local food and more sights to explore. If you are visiting only Kanto area in Japan, this should be added to your bucket list!!

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Written by

"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈