Nikko (Central Area)

Highlights of Central Nikko

Central Nikko is a historical nature resort in the north of Tochigi prefecture about 2 hours from Tokyo. Its is quite easy to get to with direct express trains via Tobu line and good connections via Utsunomiya on JR lines.

It is famous for the UNESCO world heritage registered temple and shrines. Toshogu Shrine (日光東照宮), Rinnoji Temple (輪王寺), Futaarasan Shrine (二荒山神社), but it also has many other popular places to visit. You could visit Kanmangafuchi Abyss (憾満ヶ淵), eat Yuba, visit breweries such as Watanabesahei Sake Brewery (渡邊佐平商店)and so much more.

Nikko is quite large so we will be showcasing different parts such as Oku-Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen, Yunishigawa, and Ashio in different pages.

The best seasons to visit central Nikko is spring summer, and Autumn. For more information about this interesting destination please see below.


From Tokyo to Nikko or Tobu-Nikko stations

From Airports

Main Stations

Videos of Central Nikko

Spring in Nikko (All area)

Spring in Nikko (All area)

Things to DO in Central Nikko

Temple and Shrines

Nikko is most famous for UNESCO World heritage Temple and Shrines. Most famous is Nikko Toshogu (日光東照宮), Rinouji Temple (輪王寺), Futaarasan Temple(二荒山神社).

Shinkyo Bridge

Shinkyo Bridge (神橋) is hard to miss as it is just before the temple and shrines of Nikko. Visitors usually take photos from the bridge beside it but for a small fee you can also walk over it.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss

Kanmangafuchi Abyss (憾満ヶ淵) is. a beautiful gorge with jizo statues 15 min walk from Shinko bridge. The gorge was formed by lava flow from Mt. Nantai. There is a walking path and has been a popular place ever since the seventeenth century.

Tamozawa Imperial Villa Park

Tamozawa Imperial Villa (田母沢御用邸, Tamozawa Goyōtei) was built in 1899 and used by imperial family from Taisho through to Showa (1947). The architecture is interesting as it includes Edo, Meiji and Taisho period works in one location.

Shops, Cafes and Restaurants

There area many shops, cafes and restaurants on the main street (1.7km long) leading from Nikko and Tobu-Nikko stations to Toshogu shrine. We recommend walking (takes around 25min) instead of the bus .

Nikko Onsen

Nikko Onsen is a hot spring that spreads around the city of Nikko and the shrines and temples of Nikko. You can find a list of hotels that are part of the Nikko Onsen Ryokan Association here.

Nikko Woodcarving

Nikko Woodcarving (日光彫り, Nikko Bori) is a traditional Japanese carving method handed down since the Edo period. It is original to Nikko and is a technique passed on from carpenters who helped construct Nikko Toshogu Shrine. You can find experiences at 'mekke' which is on the main street.

Watanabesahei Sake Brewery

Outside of Watanabesahei Sake Brewery

Founded in 1842, Watanabesahei Sake Brewery is a traditional sake brewery in Imaichi, Nikko. They run a popular English brewery tour almost every day, and have a nice shop. Why not come to see a working sake brewery and learn how sake is made?

Katayama Sake Brewery

Katayama Sake Brewery is a very small, family-run sake brewery founded in 1879. Located near Watanabesahei in Imaichi,  Nikko, it has a brewery shop to buy sake. Every drop of sake is gently made by hand, with the sake-pressing process alone taking three days!

Nikko Suginamiki Kaido (Nikko Cedar Avenue)

Nikko Suginamiki Kaido (日光杉並木街道 Nikko Cedar Avenue) is a 37km long tree-lined road with 12,126 Cedar trees on both sides. It holds the Guinness World Records of being the longest tree-lined road in the world! You can see the trees leading from Toshogu shrine towards Imaichi.

Learn more about places to visit in Central Nikko

EATING in Central Nikko

Yuba Dishes

Nikko is famous for Yuba (tofu skin). You can find many Japanese restaurants between the station and the shrines that offer special Yuba dishes for lunch and dinner.

Nijimasu Dishes
(Rainbow trout)

Rainbow trout was brought in from the USA in late 19th century. It has been a popular dish in Nikko ever since. Several restaurants are famous for this dish.

Yokan and sweets

Yokan is a soft sweet dessert made from Anko (red bean paste). It is famous in Nikko as travelers and Yamabushi (mountain monks) would take it on trips as energy food.

Japanese Food

Apart from Yuba (although there are many variations of Yuba dishes to try in Nikko), there are also many Japanese restaurants in Nikko. The easiest place to find one is around the main street between the two stations and Nikko shrines.

Western Food

Nikko has a very wide range of restaurants catering even for westerners. There is a very nice Italian restaurant near the stations as well as steak houses and Family restaurants (budget restaurants).

Vegan / Vegetarian

As Nikko is a popular destination there are restaurants that cater for a Vegan and Vegetarian diet as well.

Places to STAY in Central Nikko

Hotels (Western style)

Nikko is a popular tourist destination and has many western hotels to choose from. Most notably, it is home to Nikko Kanaya Hotel which was the first western style resort hotel to open in Japan.

Onsen Ryokan

‘Nikko Onsen (日光温泉)’ is an onsen source pumped up from around the UNESCO registered temple and shrines. Many of the hotels in central Nikko have this onsen water.

Nikko Kanaya Hotel

Entrance of Nikko Kanaya Hotel in central Nikko

Experience history and luxury at Japan’s oldest resort hotel! Immerse yourself in 150 years of hospitality amidst Nikko’s majestic landscapes and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stay and create timeless memories!

Nikko in the News

Travel+ Leisure

This Lesser-known Destination in Japan has…

CNN Travel  

18 of Asia’s most underrated places

The Japan Times

Commemorating 20 years of UNESCO status

Luxury Travel Magazine

The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko Opens Its Doors Amidst a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan

Metropolis Japan

For Love’s Sake

Visit Nikko

Nikko City Tourism Page


Shrines and Temples of Nikko


Nikko City

Learn more about places to visit in Central Nikko

Tochigi City Travel Guide

We’ve created a special online guide about Mashiko to help overseas visitors explore Mashiko. Click the image to discover more!

Tochigi city Photo Gallery

We’ve created a Mashiko Photo gallery to help overseas visitors and travel companies see what Mashiko has to offer. Click the image to discover more!

Daigo Town in the Media

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