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UTSUNOMIYA CITY

Highlights of Utsunomiya City

Utsunomiya City (宇都宮) is between Tokyo and Nikko (日光)  a UNESCO world heritage site further north in the mountains. When traveling back to Tokyo from Nikko with a JR pass, you need to change trains at Utsunomiya Station which is in the center of the city.  The vibrant nightlife with its famous JAZZ & Cocktails bars, many independent Japanese Izakaya bars and of cause trying the city’s most know dish Gyoza dumplings is an ideal way to end a day. Accommodation is very affordable so you can save money by choosing to stay a night here instead of Tokyo.

Other than Food & Nightlife, Utsunomiya is home to the Oya district, a stone town registered as a Japan Heritage. Visitors can learn about the mining the culture (and see where tanks were made during WW2) as well as visit to an ancient shrine with the oldest stone carved buddha in Japan. 

Another very popular and recommended destination near Oya district is the Four Seasons Bamboo Forest Wakayama Farm (若山農園), the largest bamboo forest open to visitors in Japan!

During the year, there are many events in Utsunomiya not to miss. Sakura cherry blossoms in the spring and summer festivals and fireworks in the summer. Utsunomiya also hosts world sport events such as the Japan cup (Bicycle racing) and the 3×3 word basket ball championships.

Access

From Tokyo

Airports

Main Stations

Things to DO

Go GYOZA hopping!

Utsunomiya is most known for Gyoza dumplings, Small dumplings filled with meat and vegetables (vegetarian options available at some restaurants). There are hundreds of restaurants, but if you need recommendations see our Utsunomiya night guide’s TOP 5 Gyoza restaurants

A night with JAZZ & COCKTAILS

Utsunomiya’s JAZZ & Cocktails are also the best in Japan. It has one of the most award winning mixologists as well as home to many world famous Jazz musicians such as Sadao Watanabe (Sax) and Yoshio Toyama (Trumpet).

To discover Utsunomiya’s JAZZ and COCKTAIL venues see our Utsunomiya night guide’s  TOP 7 Jazz Clubs & TOP 5 Cocktail Bars here.

More Night Life !

Locals in Utsunomiya love eating out (they spend the most per capita in Japan!), so it is no surprise that there are some very nice independent Izakaya’s and restaurants. For ideas of where to go, see our Utsunomiya night guide’s 10 Things in Utsunomiya page.

Walk around the city

From the city center you can hire a bicycle or catch a bus/taxi or even walk to visit the main attractions in the city center. Shinohara-tei, Futaarasan Shrine, and Gallery Hanna which was Hayao Miyazaki’s childhood home are good places to visit.

Visit Oya district and Wakayama Bamboo Farm

The stone city of Oya is a Japan heritage that produced stone for some world famous architectures. There is a popular museum (Oya history museum) , stone mine (Kanehon), cave shrine (Oyaji), walking tours (Oya Underground) as well as many excellent cafes to experience. 

Close to Oya is Wakayama Bamboo Farm which is the largest well-kept bamboo forest open to the public in Japan. Very popular with overseas visitors!

Utsunomiya Night Guide

We’ve created a special online guide to help overseas visitors find the best Evening & Night acivities in Utsunomiya. Click the image to discover more!

Places to EAT

Enjoy Gyoza (Utsunomiya is famous for it)

Utsunomiya has more than 300 Gyoza dumpling restaurants! And many are within walking distance from both JR and Tobu Utsunomiya stations. Have a look at the Top 5 Gyoza Restaurants we recommend in our Utsunomiya Night Guide.

Sip on delicious cocktails

After WW2, many Jazz and cocktail bars opened in Utsunomiya to cater for the allied forces in the area. 

Since then, Utsunomiya’s reputation continued to grow and now has the best bartenders and mixologists in all of Japan. Check out the TOP 5 cocktail bars in our Utsunomiya Night Guide.

A drink with Monkeys ?

Until the word go out and the media from around the world flocked to Kayabuki (A small Izakaya bar in Utsunomiya) it was Utsunomiya’s best kept secret. Probably the only bar in the word where monkeys will come and sit on your lap.  See our Utsunomiya night guide’s 10 Things in Utsunomiya page.

COENA Cafe

A small European style restaurant with delicious homemade food prepared with local ingredients hand-picked by our chef.

Enjoy Gyoza (Utsunomiya is famous for it)

With its distinctive wrinkled noodles and Soy source based soup, Sano is home to some 160 Ramen stores and is a must visit destination for Ramen lovers in Japan.

Sip on some cocktails

With its distinctive wrinkled noodles and Soy source based soup, Sano is home to some 160 Ramen stores and is a must visit destination for Ramen lovers in Japan.

Places to STAY

Western Style Hotels

There are many affordable western style hotels in Utsunomiya.

Want prices? Find the full list of hotels on Booking.com here.

Unique Accomodation

Wondered what Primitive life was like? Sano offers unique accommodation where you can stay in replicas of homes from 5,000 years ago.

Tobu Hotel Grande

A popular 3 star hotel 4 min walk from Tobu-Utsunomiya station. 5 min Taxi from JR Utsunomiya Station.

Booking.com

Hotel Higashinihon

 A popular 4 star hotel with nice restaurants and bars. 7 min taxi ride from JR Utsunomiya Station.

Booking.com

Richmond Hote Annex

A very convenient & popular 3 star hotel in front of JR Utsunomiya Station. 

Booking.com

Day trips from UTSUNOMIYA

Each of these places are within a day trip away. Click on the image to find out more.

Useful links for Utsunomiya

Ready to enjoy a night out?

Check our special website (Utsunomiya Night Guide) explaining how to enjoy a night out in  Utsunomiya!

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