Best place to escape from busy, modern Tokyo and a perfect place for enjoying the natural beauty and visiting shrines and temples.
Nikko is a small town located 120km north of Tokyo and it takes less than 2 hours of journey by train. This is perfect for you who want to take a short vacation out of Tokyo, especially if you won’t have a chance to visit Kyoto, another must-visit place in Japan.
As one of the worship center for the Shinto and Buddhist, you can visit some shrines and temples in Nikko which are categorized as UNESCO World Heritage site. Among them are Toshogu and Futarasan shrine and Rinnoji temple. Before going there, you will first discover the Shinkyo bridge. This is a sacred old bridge that connects the town to the place where the shrines and temples located.
If you’ve had enough seeing them, it’s time for enjoying the landscape and natural beauty of Nikko. There are many choices for you to see, such as mountains, lake, waterfalls, marshland and hot springs. Fortunately, they are located close to each other and can be reached by bus or walking (there are walking trails). The best time to enjoy the scenery is during autumn when the trees are colorful and the weather is at its best.
To reach Nikko (from Tokyo), I recommend you to buy Tobu Nikko Free Pass from any Tobu Travel agency or Tourist Information Center. This pass is a bargain and will cover Tokyo-Nikko round trip train, two days unlimited bus trip in Nikko area and free admission to the shrines and temples. The train will leave from Asakusa station, Tokyo, and make sure to take the earliest train to make the most of your time in Nikko.
Another suggestion for you is to avoid going there in weekend, especially during autumn and spring. Try to eat local’s special food, yuba, a kind of Japanese noodle dishes. And don’t forget to bring your lomo cameras and films.