In the Edo period (1603 to 1868), Tochigi city (栃木市) prospered from its location on the Uzumagawa River, which connected it with the capital, Edo (now Tokyo). At that time, envoys from the Tokugawa shogunate (feudal government of that time in Edo, now Tokyo) would travel through Tochigi via the Reiheishi-way to pay a visit to Shrines and Temples of Nikkō. Tochigi soon became a popular merchant town and successful traders went on to support world-famous artists such as Kitagawa Utamaro who went on to influence western artists of the 19th century such as Vincent van Gogh.
As the city escaped war damage during World War II, many of the historical temples, traditional shops and traditional storehouses remain for visitors to enjoy.
Tochigi city is also home to Mt. Ohira (大平山) know for its Hydrangea & Sakura festivals, as well as Watarase Yusuichi ( a retarding basin) protected under the Ramsar convention.
As Tochigi was once a prospering Edo merchant town, it offers activities & experiences where visitors can experience traditional Japanese culture. You can learn about Ukiyo-e, try on Kimono, take a boat (gondola) ride down the canal, visit museums and a traditional incense stick shop.
This region is known for its grapes and as well as its wide variety of fruits grown throughout the year. There are many farms open to the public where visitors can pay to pick fresh fruit.
The younger generation of the town have started a trend of opening artisan coffee shops around the city using unused old buildings. New coffee shops are popping up all the time, so make sure to look out for some unique cafes when walking around!
20min drive from the city center is Mt. Ohira (341m). You can hike to the top using the may of its hiking trails. The best time to visit is Spring (Mt. Ohira’s Sakura cherry blossom), June (Mt. Ohira’s Hydrangea Festival) & Autumn to see the colourful autumn leaves.
Watarase Yusuichi (Watarase retarding basin) is a heart shaped basin where visitors can spot with many wild birds and nature protected by Ramsar Convention.
If you like thrilling activities, why not sign-up for a skydiving session from 4,000m above the basin! (The highest point of skydiving in Japan!)
Visit Shoai Samurai for a unique, eco-friendly Japanese culture experience.
Try traditional indigo dyeing (Aizome) and support the local community. Create your masterpiece while making a positive impact!
There are many Japanese restaurants. You can find Kaiseki (traditional multi-course Japanese dinner), Soba, Okonomiyaki, Izakaya style Japanese restaurants and more.
For lunch, why not stop by the trendy artisan coffee shops spread around Tochigi city. There is also a very popular Nepalese restaurant with tasty curry dishes as well as many European & themed restaurants.
Tochigi is home to Tochigi Edoryori, which is a style of dishes that are inspired by ingredients and dishes popular in the city during the Edo period when Tochigi was a prosperous merchant city. (Photos of the restaurants/dishes)
There are a few traditional Japanese Ryokans.
There are several western style business hotels.
There is a popular guesthouse in the center of the city. As well as bunkbeds there are some Japanese tatami rooms suitable for a group of 2-3people on a budget.
There are several Airbnbs.
Find the full list of airbnb’s available at aribnb here.
We’ve created a special online guide about Mashiko to help overseas visitors explore Mashiko. Click the image to discover more!
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!