Dustin is a Canadian living in Utsunomiya as an English teacher. Here’s how he recommends you enjoy Utsunomiya in 3 hours before heading back to Tokyo.
This is a perfect itinerary if you are traveling back from Nikko on the JR Nikko Line (leaving Nikko at 17:18 and arriving in JR Utsunomiya Station at 17:58) with a small group of friends and would like to have dinner and a few drinks before heading back to where you are staying.
Suggestion by Dustin Diakow from Canada.
Although you can take a bus to save time like Angus showed us in the other ‘3 hour itinerary’, most locations are within a 20 min walk. So today we are going to walk ! (See the Google map at the bottom of this page to see the route we took today).
Ready for a fun night out! (Walking west down Odori High Street from the JR Utsunomiya station)
The first stop was Piyo Pizza, a small pizza place hidden in the backstreets of Utsunomiya. This place has great Italian style pizza, great wine and craft beer. The owners speak basic English and are really fun to talk to.
*Check here for more info about Piyo Pizza
Budget : 500-1,000 yen
From Piyo pizza we walked to a place called Yataiyokocho which was less than 5 minutes away. This area has so many little small bars where you can eat local foods and just meet the locals of Utsunomiya.
The bar we chose is called Waraibako. It has a very fun atmosphere but English is not really spoken here. Food is mostly bbq meat on skewers.
*Check here for more info about Yatai Yokocho.
Budget : 1,800-2,500 yen
*Each person will be charged about 200-500yen for Otoshi (Table charge fee)
From Yataiyokocho we walked to a Mexican bar that was a 5 minute walk away. The bars name is Bagdad Cafe. The owner Sayuri is a great person who speaks English very well. The food is great and the atmosphere is great.
Budget : 1,500-2,000 yen
After Bagdad Cafe we walked 5 minutes to an area called Orion dori which is a cover shopping steer with many restaurants, bars and clothing stores. We stopped at a place called ‘Kan Chan’. Kan Chan has been in this area with his bar for many years. A staple of Utsunomiya in my opinion.
Naoki, the owner doesn’t speak much English but his listening is not bad. He is a fun guy who always has a smile. The food is bbq meat on skewers with a miso dip.
This place is usually very busy so you may need to wait for a seat. This was also the last stop on our list before we had to catch the train back.
Budget : 1,500-2,000 yen
JR Utsunomiya Station is 20-25 walk from Kan Chan. We walked back to the station (JR Utsunomiya Station), but you may want to take a bus from Babacho bus stop (馬場町) or pick up a taxi if you are conscious of time.
To take the bus: Head towards Futaarasan shrine（二荒山神社）. When you find the Orange shrine gate, cross over to the same side and walk 30m (shrine gate on your right) and you’ll find Baba-cho bus stop (馬場町). Wait for the bus that has JR宇都宮駅 (JR Utsunomiya Station) showing on the front of the bus and take it back to the station (Approx. 5-6 min ride).
If it is your first time on a bus in Japan, see here for instructions.
Cost of Bus : 170 yen
You should arrive at JR Utsunomiya station around 21:15 so you should have plenty of time to catch the 21:34 to Tokyo.
*Please note train times were accurate on 14th Oct 2019. Please see here for up-to-date train times.