Top Things to Do in Nikko

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August 10, 2016


Nikko is a spiritual center located in Tochigi Prefecture. Though just a short train ride from Tokyo’s concrete canyons, Nikko’s natural surroundings and holy locations make it seem like travelers have stepped into a different world. It is a registered World Heritage Site that offers temples, shrines, hot springs, and natural beauty.

Futarasan Shrine

Established in 782, Futarasan Shrine is the oldest shrine in the area. It is home to the famous Shinkyo Bridge, which is considered to be one of the three best bridges in Japan.

Address: 2307 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1431

Website (Japanese only):

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Nikko Toshogu Shrine was established in 1617 to enshrine and entomb Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa bakufu that ruled Japan for two centuries. Unlike most shrines, it is lavishly painted, making it one of the most unique shrines in Japan.

Address: 2301 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1431

Website (Japanese only):

Rinno-ji Temple

Rinno-ji Temple was founded in the 8th century and is the main temple in Nikko. The main hall is undergoing repair until March 2019, but visitors can still enter and see the work that is taking place. The temple also boasts a pleasant Japanese style garden called Shoyoen.

Address: 2300 Sannai, Nikkō, Tochigi Prefecture

Website (Japanese only):

Kanmangafuchi Abyss

Despite its intimidating name, the Kanmangafuchi Abyss is a gorge that was carved out in a long ago volcanic explosion. Today a walking trail runs along the river that flows through the gorge, and on the side of the trail are a line of approximately 80 statues of Jizo, a Buddhist figure who is best known as a protector.

Address: Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1415


Futarasan Shrine, Tosho-gu Shrine, Rinno-ji Temple, and the Kanmangafuchi Abyss are all located a 30 minute walk from Nikko Station.

Kegon Waterfall

Kegon Waterfall is one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. It is near Chuzenjiko Onsen, and it can be accessed by bus from Nikko Station via an extremely windy road.

Address:, Chugushi, Nikko Tochigi Prefecture 321-1661

Christopher Gearhardt

Christopher lives and works in Mie Prefecture. He enjoys traveling and photography and is interested in Japanese history and religion.

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