Tokyo-Nikko: choosing your itinerary

A must-see during your trip in Japan

travel from tokyo to nikko

Nikko is the ideal destination for a breath of fresh air along with a great excursion to discover Japanese history and culture, all just outside Tokyo (125 km away).

Home to many temples, including the famous Tosho-gu temple at the entrance of Nikko’s natural park, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Kegon waterfall and Chuzenji lake with its autumnal red mountains, Nikko is definitely a must-see during your trip. See our Japan Experience Guide.

Below are the different ways to reach Nikko from Tokyo.


Visit Nikko with the Tobu line
The Tobu line links Asakusa station directly to Nikko’s Tobu station and is probably the easiest way to get there.
Fast trains take around 2 hours and cost 1 360 yen, but for twice the price you can reach Nikko in 105 minutes with the 'Kegon' limited express (a few trains everyday).

The Tobu company is a private company and offers different kinds of passes, the 'All Nikko Pass', the 'World Heritage Pass' and the 'Kinugawa Pass' that include the Tokyo-Nikko route, travel once there, as well as the entry tickets to the temples.

Try a bright orange sushi ekiben at the Tobu Nikko Station ! 

As transportation on the Tobu line is not included in the Japan Rail Pass, it might be a good idea to consider alternatives.


Nikko temples images
These limited express trains that will take you to Nikko and Kinugawa (known for its onsens) in about 2 hours, are very practical if you reside in the west of Tokyo as they leave from the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations.

It consists in a joint service of the JR line and the Tobu line, therefore if you holda Japan Rail Pass, you will only have to pay an additional fare, the journey from Kurihashi, where the JR line changes for the Tobu line (1560 yen). Note that the JR East Pass covers the whole trip.

Beware: there are only 4 departures from Shinjuku (7:30 AM, 10:31 AM, 1:01 PM, 5:32 PM) and Ikebukuro (7:36 AM, 10:37 AM, 1:07 PM, 5:38 PM)- note that some trains have a connection in Shimo-imaichi - and 4 trips back from Tobu-Nikko station per day ( 8:15 AM, 10:48 AM, 3:16 PM  and 4:39 PM). For this route you can also buy the 'Nikko Kinugawa Excursion ticket' for sale in the JR ticket offices and 'View Plaza'.


Visit Nikko with Tohoku shinkansen
Japan Rail Pass holders can reach Nikko for free with the Tohoku Shinkansen.
Take a 'Yamabito' or 'Nasuno' Shinkansen from Tokyo or Ueno, to Utsunomiya (about 50 minutes), and change for the JR Nikko line for JR Nikko station (about 45 minutes).

The JR Nikko line being a local line with very few departures, we advise you to check the schedule in order to limit your waiting time.

discover nikko

What to see in Nikko ?

What to see ?
These vast sacred grounds, listed as a World Heritage Site since 1999, includes the three main sights mentioned below. Open daily, Apr-Nov, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov-Mar, to 4 p.m.

Founded by the priest Shodo in the 8th century. Here you can visit Sanbutsudo Hall, which enshrines three gold-plated wooden images of Buddha. At Rinnoji Temple the Shoyo-en Garden is worth a visit (extra cost ¥300). Open daily, Apr-Nov, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov-Mar, to 4 p.m, ¥900.

Built in 1616 as a mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The first shrine was rebuilt in 1636 by his grandson, who spared no cost in constructing this complex as an act of devotion. Open daily, AprNov, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov-Mar, to 4 p.m, ¥1300.

FUTARASAN SHRINE is dedicated to the gods of the mountains surrounding Nikko. Open daily, Apr-Nov, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov - Mar, to 4 p.m, ¥200.

Built around the former Edo residence of the Kishu Tokugawa clan, the villa was erected using pieces of the original residence that stood in Tokyo. It was constructed in 1899. With 106 rooms it is the biggest wooden imperial villa erected in the Meiji and Taisho eras. Open every day except for Tuesdays, Apr-Oct: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Oct-Mar: 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m, ¥510.

Explore Japan in depth with our 21-day individual tour.

Your Pass at the best price

National JR Pass From $ 278
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JR Central Pass From $ 129
JR East Pass From $ 244

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