Hello everyone! This is part two of my Nikko blog, so if you haven’t read part one, please check it out before moving on! Today I’ll be talking about where you should plan on visiting while in Nikko. This is more of a one day trip itinerary but with there being so much to do, you’ll have no trouble spending the whole weekend there. If you are interested in where to go, keep on reading!
8:30am Depart from Asakusa Station on the Kegon 9 Train.
I’d recommend you take either this train or any other train before. It’s better to reach Nikko early in the morning rather than later as many of the shrines/temples close around 4-5pm and depending on the month, there can be a crazy amount of tourists.
10:20 Arrive in Tobu-Nikko Station.
From here, you’ll want to go out of the station where there will be a bus stop clearly marked. Take the World Heritage Site bus to the Shinkyo Bridge stop. Don’t worry about paying if you bought the Nikko pass. The bus fare is included, so make sure to show the driver the ticket as you exit.
Shinkyo Sacred Bridge (神橋)
Built in the 1630s, this vermillion colored bridge stands at the base to all of the main shrines and temples in Nikko. There is a small fee to cross the bridge, but our group was satisfied with just getting some good ole’ 御朱印 (Goshuuin) temple stamps at the site. I heard that the best season to go is during Autumn as the red color of the bridge stands out against the backdrop of the Japanese Momi leaves.
Toshogu Shrine 日光東照宮
Next find your way to Nikko’s most famous shrine, Toshogu Shrine. This shrine was erected in the 1630s in order to commemorate Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the most influential shogun in all of Japan’s history. One of the reason why this shrine is so popular is due to the fact that there is no other lavishly decorated shrine like it in Japan. The hand carved wood decorations are covered in gold leaf accents and according to the shrine’s website, the cost to build the entire shrine is equivalent to almost 40Billion JPY in today’s money!
You’ll need to purchase a pass to go inside the shrine (1,300 JPY), but before doing so, make sure to try out the fresh mochi (rice cake) and sweet sake at the tent right before the entrance. It’s definitely something worth checking if you love Japanese snacks.
Futarasan Shrine 二荒山神社
Adjacent to the Toshogu Shrine, you’ll find Futarasan Shrine. It was built in the 700s by Shodo Shonin, the Buddhist monk who started the entire religious sect in Nikko. Here, you’ll find sacred thousand year old oak trees, a giant statue of Shodo, in addition to a small spring. Drinking the water from the spring is said to cure any eye diseases!
If you are still curious about Ieyasu’s legacy, be sure to check out Taiyuin-byo as this belongs to his grandson, Iemitsu.
By this time, I’m assuming all of you are starving after visiting all of the shrines that Nikko has to offer. So, why not try out the local delicacy? A thing you must try out while you are in Nikko is Yuba. Yuba is basically tofu skin and the most authentic way to eat yuba is with soba noodles, but I decided to opt for Yuba tomato ramen.
Something that I was so disappointed in not being able to see was the Kanmangafuchi Abyss, as it contains around 70 stone statues of Jizo. Notice that I said around 70 statues. According to legend, the number of statues changes every time you try to count them, thus they are referred to as “Bake Jizo” or Ghost Jizo.
I hope you all found my Nikko blog helpful for planning your next trip. There was truly so much to see in Nikko, and although I regret not having enough time here, it was something I was glad to have checked off my list. If you are looking for a nice trip outside of Tokyo, please visit Nikko!
There were a lot of places I didn’t mention in my blog, but some areas well worth noting are Kinugawa Onsen, The Imperial Villa, Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura and Kegon Falls. Until next time! じゃあ、またね！