Nikko is a perfect trip for nature-lovers looking to get out of the city. A direct train from Asakusa (express or local, depending on your budget) will take you to the National Park – comprising forests, mountains, waterfalls, lakes and plateaus – in about two hours. In the summer, it’s a great place to retreat to cooler weather whilst the autumn and winter transform it into a great place for viewing the changing colours or snow festivals. Whether you are going for the day or a weekend, there are a variety of sites and landscapes to experience.
There are three World-Heritage shrines and temples in Nikko, which can all easily be seen in half a day. As you reach the end of Nikko’s main street you pass the red lacquered Shinkyo Bridge. Continue up the mountain to see the Nikko-Futurusan-Jinja Shrine (which the bridge belongs to), Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple and the Nikko Toshogu Shrine.
Accessible by bus from the centre of town, Lake Chuzenji is one of the highest altitude lakes in Japan. Take a peaceful walk along water, where foreign diplomats used to spend the summer. In fact, the restored British and Italian Embassy Memorial Parks are both idyllic places from which to view the lake.
Perhaps Nikko’s most famous site is the row of approximately 70 jizo statues along the Daiyagawa River. The walk along the river is atmospheric, especially early in the morning.
Access: The Tobu Railway goes from Asakusa to Nikko. For Lake Chuzenji take any bus bound for Chuzenji Onsen or Yumoto Onsen.
Cost: The Embassies each charge an admission fee of 200 yen per adult. Nikko Toshogu Shrine is 1,300 yen per adult.
Guest post by Clare Fielder
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