Nikko City in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture is an attractive tourist site for Japanese people and foreigners alike. It boasts beautiful nature such as waterfalls, lakes, and mountains, as well as some great historical places. If you are looking to enjoy both Japanese nature and history, check out these 10 awesome things to do in Nikko!
The Nikko Toshogu Shrine is a shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. The shrine is decorated gorgeously and is surrounded by a beautiful forest. Walking around will take you back to the great Edo era. The shrine is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikko so it’s definitely a must-visit.
Nikko has a lot of waterfalls, and Kegon Waterfall is the biggest one. Measuring 97 meters in height, you can view the fall from a free observation area. However, I recommend you to go to the paid observation platform with an elevator that runs 100 meters deep, allowing you to enjoy an even more amazing view.
The Senjogahara Plateau is one of the largest high moors in Japan, located at a height of 1,400 meters. More than 350 species of native plants and various kinds of birds can be found here. The best way to enjoy Senjogahara is by walking around on a sunny day.
Hangetsuyama is a mountain located in Nikko. It is 1,753 meters tall, and you can enjoy a wonderful view from an observation deck at its summit. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the observation deck from the mountain’s parking area, so it’s pretty easy to climb!
Lake Chuzenji is just a five-minute walk from Kegon Waterfall, so it would be better if you visit these two spots together. You can see a view from the lake by walking along it or while on a cruise.
Nikko Yumoto Onsen is a small hot spring area near Lake Yunoko. You can stay overnight at a ryokan (Japanese-style hotel) for a memorable onsen experience, or enjoy the hot springs for just a day.
“Ryuzu” means “dragon head” in Japanese. As the name represents, the shape of Ryuzu Falls resembles the head of a dragon. There’s a cafe near the waterfall where you can enjoy the view while having Japanese tea and snacks.
The Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine is located next to the Toshogu Shrine. It is founded in 782, so it’s much older than the latter. There are two more Futarasan shrines in Okunikko (奥日光): one stands at the summit of Mt. Nantai and the other one stands on the shore of Lake Chuzenji.
The Nikko Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park was constructed with traditional Edo or early Meiji period architecture methods. It originally stood in Tokyo, however, in 1899, it was moved to Nikko to be used as a summer residence of the Imperial Family.
Nikko Botanical Garden belongs to the Graduate School of Science of the University of Tokyo. It’s an institute for research and education, but it also welcomes tourists who want to see the plants.
Nikko is a great, relaxing place to visit with its beautiful nature and historical atmosphere. It also offers different but equally breathtaking views each season. Once you visit Nikko, you will want to visit it again and again!